Part of the discussion around ‘Parallel Mothers’ has revolved around reflecting on what to do Pedro Almodovar of motherhood, trying to include different perspectives around it. But mothers are a recurring theme in the filmography of the manchego and, seeing the uneven result of their latest film, we must say that they have had better portraits in the past.
On a day like today, where we celebrate mothers from all over the world, it would be her thing to catch an Almodóvar film to celebrate motherhood. As we have said, there are varied examples in his work, although there is something inexplicable but strong that attracts us to ‘Volver’, available on Netflix. Perhaps not only because it is where he most directly confronts mothers, but because it is one of his best moviespoint.
Return to a town in La Mancha
Like the story that he presents to us, Almodóvar’s story with this movie is back to its roots, his people. After the international applause of ‘Talk to her’, the director decided to return to something more elementary, less raised, although he continued to enter into certain truculent moralities. Melodrama is still the main genre, but the impression was that there was more room for lightness and also for comedy amplified, even for a hint towards genre and ghost cinema.
In other circumstances it would be a minor film, but that was not the case with ‘Volver’. Raimunda’s story was widely received (Penelope Cruz), stuck in a stagnant marriage with an unemployed worker (Anthony of the Tower) while she and her sister Sole (Lola Duenas) hear stories that their mother (carmen maura), killed in a fire, had returned to the village.
Both ignore these stories, but Sole suddenly runs into what she considers to be the spirit of her mother, while Raimunda ends up killing her husband after he tried to rape his daughter.
All this is a lot of moves, but they are only the first minutes of the film, showing how boisterous the films of the manchego can be. There is deception, robbery, murder, reflection on the past, but even so the impression was that Almodóvar was making a comedy. And so it is in part combining its enormous neorealist influence with Castilian costumbrismoalso playing with ghost stories and even indulging in a little (and brilliant) musical moment.
‘Volver’: between us we managed
Almodóvar makes a perfect exercise to unite all this in a digestible tone that also serves the story, which goes counting on a lot of care to let those connections between women flourishbetween mothers and daughters, and reflect on generational traumas and how women have historically endured them.
It would have been difficult to sustain all this if we didn’t have a highly inspired cast with outstanding actresses, especially a Penélope Cruz brighter than ever. In the end, “between us we manage”. Phrases like this are released with all naturalness, but they contain meanings of great strength and genuine emotion, which show the true director’s passion for dedicating this to the women who were there growing up.
Very powerful moments, but counted from calm and closeness. That is why ‘Volver’ is the film that has most reconciled Almodóvar with the public, and that is why it is an ideal choice for a day like today.