A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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VOLVER
2006 - Pedro Almodovar - Spain
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"There are so many widows". Volver opens with a stunning shot of a cemetery where we see women cleaning the graves of their husbands. Such is the world of this film, and such is the world of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. Almodovar is one of the most beloved filmmakers in all the world. He has been making films for over 30 years, but he is currently at the peak of his artistry and he stands as one of the most consistently reliable filmmakers in contemporary cinema. To me, Volver joins his previous two features (Bad Education and Talk To Her) as his best films to date. The opening moment is reflective of the entire film, which is essentially about the connection of life and of death. Volver translates as "to return" and Almodovar expresses this theme through visuals, surrealism, and characterization. Using metaphoric imagery of windmills that embrace the towns chaotic winds, Almodovar's visuals emphasize the theme of cycles (both of the dead and the undead). Volver is a film of womanhood and the importance and the need to for women to stay close emotionally, physically and spiritually. Even against the harshest winds and their own personal disagreements these women need each other. Of course, Almodovar handles them each with such care, compassion, and complexity that you easily fall in love with these women, who are in a world seemingly absent of men. The entire cast is exceptional, including Almodovar's trademark muses (Carmen Maura, Penelope Cruz, and Chus Lampreave). Cruz is especially brilliant in the role and performance of her career. She embraces the depth and inner essence of Raimunda with a performance that is captivating, funny, and strong yet fragile. Almodovar has such a mastery over the actresses and the visual details of the film that Volver becomes a cinematic blend of dark humor, and melodrama. His inventive storytelling is so dazzling that Almodovar magically transport the viewer into its vibrant combination of surrealism, neo-realism, and melodrama. The filmmaking is so alive and fresh with cinematic intelligence and creativity, and the characters and performance are so loveable. Volver is a masterful display of women's beauty, strength, spirit, growth, sensitivity, and togetherness.
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