Party Of The Week: London embraces a Spanish invasion for Broken Embraces' screening

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The Independent Culture

It's been quite a week of celebrating the new Pedro Almodovar film, Broken Embraces. The Spanish director and his star, Penelope Cruz, arrived for a special screening of the film, in association with The Independent, followed by an on-stage interview at the BFI Southbank on Saturday night.

Cruz, looking demure with her hair pulled back, had lost her luggage on route to London but still managed to rustle up a caramel coloured silk dress and jacket to wear to the event, while Almodovar looked casual in a pair of snazzy red and silver sneakers.

Cruz's career is being celebrated in a month long BFI season (until 31 August) for which The Independent is media partner. The 35-year-old screen siren plays the peroxide blond bombshell, Lena, in the film and wears a sleek wig.

The pair disappeared into the green room for a drinks reception where they chatted with the host of the event, Maria Delgado, a programmer for the London Film Festival, as well as the film director Stephen Frears, who directed Cruz in The Hi-Lo Country in 1998. But Cruz and Almodovar did not hang around for long. They had a dinner engagement at Nobu in Knightsbridge.

Two days earlier, the Spanish duo were welcomed to London with a shindig on the River Terrace at Somerset House, with guests who included the directors Gurinder Chadha (of Bend it Like Beckham) and Nicolas Roeg, the film stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Hurt, and the fashion designer Matthew Williamson.