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Pedro Almodovar


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Directed by: Pedro Almodovar
(Sony)
Pedro Almodovar writes the best roles in his films for women. The much-loved, flamboyant director is like a Spanish Woody Allen without the self-obsessive angst, plus a touch of Hitchcock, exploring communities and relationships from a feminine point of view. Volver tells the story of two sisters, Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) and Soledad (Lola Duenas), who are dealing with the death of their aunt while Sole encounters the apparent ghost of their mother and Raimunda busies herself stashing the body of her dead husband in the deep freeze of a friend's restaurant. Given the themes of mortality, you'd expect a heavy drama or a suspense thriller, but the film is typically chaotic and funny, an Almodovar signature. Volver is a lush, vibrant, dark comedy about familial bonds between women, about duty and forgiveness. As the long run at the Oxford showed, this may be Almodovar's most popular film to date and that's saying something after Talk to Her and All About My Mother. Cruz, complete with a fabulous prosthetic derriere, is a full-bodied force of nature here, a wonderful surprise after so many anemic Hollywood roles. Having earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for playing Raimunda, may she never act outside her native tongue again.
Carsten Knox

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