VolverVolver — (v) to return; to come back.

The title of Pedro Almodovar’s recent film, Volver (DVD 2783), resonates with his fans. Volver; to return. It’s how we feel when we stumble out of a theater after seeing one of his releases. Well, it’s how I feel. I get the urge to queue up again at The Charles; plop down another eight bucks for a ticket; and spend a few more hours with my eyes glued to the screen.

In the film, Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) lives in Madrid with her daughter Paula and her layabout husband Paco. Her divorced sister, Sole, works off the books as a hairstylist. The two lost their mother and father in a tragic fire in La Mancha, the village where they were born, years ago, but they occasionally return to see family and visit the graves of their parents. Paula, their enfeebled and aging aunt, still lives in the La Mancha and continues to speak about her sister Irene, mother of the two sisters, as if she were still alive. When their aunt dies, their lives change and the past returns.

Despite it’s being a story of death, abuse, terminal illness, and betrayal, the film never subsides into despair or absurdity. Almodovar skillfully covers the most difficult of subjects in a moving but gently comic way.

Collectively, the female ensemble cast, won the best actress award at Cannes. The strength of these actresses, and Penelope Cruz in particular (I haven’t been a fan of hers in the past but the critical acclaim she received in this role is well deserved), is more reminiscent of the Almodovar’s All About My Mother (DVD 110), rather than the more recent Bad Education (DVD 1714) and Talk to Her (DVD 727). The AV Center has all four of these Pedro Almodovar movies, among others. He’s been recognized as one of the strongest living directors, and we’ve begun to collect a fair amount . They are stunning, certainly, and unforgettably entertaining.

3 thoughts on “Volver

  1. Come on “puleeeze”, what does it take to move you? If Volver was pulled early from the Charles, that is more a comment on lack of taste by Baltimore film fans than on the quality of the movie. Take a look at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/volver/ if you want to see what a lot of usually tough critics have to say about it. Almadovar is not to everyone’s taste, I agree, but since when has popularity said anything about a movie’s value?

  2. The movie bombed, was pulled early at the Charles. The only thing popular about it was the poster: all copies gone. The only thing amusing about Almo. is his queer past with Antonio Banderas..

  3. I agree that Volver is fantastic–probably Almadovar’s best in years. In addition to Penelope Cruz’s performance, I think that Carmen Maura as Irene was great, too. This is the first time that Maura has worked with Almadovar since “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 1988. This film–also available in the library–is hands down my favorite Almadovar. Fast paced, crazy, and quite touching at the same time.

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