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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Almodovar accused of animal cruelty
Almodovar and Penelope Cruz
Almodovar, with Penelope Cruz, has won many awards
Oscar-winner Pedro Almodovar has landed in hot water with animal rights activists.

Animal campaigners have filed a complaint against the Spanish director for killing bulls for his new film Talk to Her.

The complaint by Madrid's Animal Amnesty has been filed before the capital's regional environmental department.

It alleges Almodovar and his production company, El Deseo, violated an animal protection law under which any film scene purporting to show cruelty to, mistreatment of, or suffering by animals must be staged.

Bullfight
The film centres around a female bullfighter

The maximum fine for the offence is $13,513 (9,528).

Hable Con Ella - Talk to Her - features Spanish singer Rosario Flores as a female bullfighter.

Almodovar is best known for his film All About My Mother which picked up the best foreign film at the 2000 Oscars.

'Denied'

El Deseo admits four bulls were killed in the bullring at Aranjuez but insists it had the proper permits to carry out the slaughter.

Spokeswoman Paz Sufrategui said: "When we bought the bulls we never denied that it was for shooting a film.

Almodovar and Antonia Banderas
Almodovar has worked with Antonio Banderas on several films

"We haven't done anything illegal.

"The bullfight was conducted in the least painful way possible."

The company added that a pupil from a Madrid bullfighting school was used for the bullfighting scenes.

But animal rights activists are questioning the treatment of the animals.

Animal Amnesty's Matilde Cubillo told the state news agency EFE: "Some people close to the shooting told us that an inexperienced bullfighter had made a slaughter with those animals to shoot the scene of the film."

See also:

22 Mar 00 | Oscars 2000
Spain's enfant terrible
18 Jun 01 | Reviews
Before Night Falls: Press reviews
20 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Spanish eyes on Banderas clan
30 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Banderas to stay behind the camera
24 May 99 | Entertainment
Rosetta wins Cannes prize
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