Acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almovodar said he found a new challenge in his latest film “Julieta,” mining a quieter drama for his 20th feature film as he reflected on his decades-long career.

"Julieta" is an adaptation of several Alice Munro stories about a single mother drifting into depression as she searches for her missing daughter and discovers much about her traumatic past is not what it seems. The film stars Emma Suarez as the older Julieta and Adriana Ugarte as the younger iteration of the character. Almovodar, 66, known for complex dramas such as "Hable con Ella" ("Talk to Her"), "Todo sobre mi madre" ("All About My Mother") and "Volver," said “Julieta” presented a  new challenge for him.

"I used to make a lot of melodramas, I mean dramas with a lot of sense of humor, music and strange situations. But in this case...there is so much pain in this story that I wanted to - just to make it more softer way that I could. So I mean this sobriety, it was something new for me and it's related more with a dark drama than with melodrama," the Oscar-winning director told Reuters at the film’s UK premiere on Wednesday.

Debuting his 20th film, Almovodar looked back on his own career, saying he “dreamed to be a director” since childhood. When asked about his contribution to Spanish cinema, Almodovar said his country's diverse culture was at the heart of his work, and discussed the changing portrayals of his female characters through the years.

"In the Eighties I was starting doing everything, and also the country was starting in a new period - it was the moment when the Spanish democracy birth again. So the character that I wrote, I mean the female characters that I wrote at the moment, they were very different from now because of the decade. It was a decade full of passion, full of freedom and it was a big explosion, it was a unique moment in the history of my country," he said.

The film opens in cinemas across the UK on August 26 and hits the United States on December 21.