Madres paralelas: a combative, political and feverish melodrama (review)

Madres paralelas: a combative, political and feverish melodrama (review)

Sacred in Venice, Penelope Cruz shines in her seventh collaboration with Pedro Almodóvar. To be (re)watched this evening on Arte.

Madres Paralelas opened in 2021 Venice Film Festival, then one of its main performers, Penélope Cruz, left the festival with a Volpi Cup for best actress. A deserved recognition for the actress, indeed striking alongside Aitana Sánchez-Gijón.

Arte will broadcast this successful drama by Pedro Almodovar, for the first time in the clear, this evening.

Pedro Almodovar: “The more colors I use, the more sincere I am”

Where to go next Pain and Glory, the torrent of praise that greeted it and the feeling, unanimously shared, that its author had reached a peak? Like his alter ego played by Antonio Banderas, Almodóvar could have remained shut up at home, adapting his baroque architecture endlessly, in the comfort of his apartment-museum. But Madres Paralelas clearly shows that he refuses to rest on his laurels. A dig addressed to Mariano Rajoy during a dialogue, a t-shirt “with message” sported by Penélope Cruz (“ We should all be feminists “): so many clues which prove that Almodóvar intends to continue to be in the world, to feed on the spirit of the times.

The argument, however, has the air of a timeless melodrama: two women who gave birth at the same time will see their lives intertwined following a twist of fate. To this first film, both morbid and sensual, Almodovarian as hell, is grafted a reflection on the memory of Francoism, the transmission of historical memory and the madness of our “post-truth” era. The ease with which Almodóvar articulates individual journeys and collective destiny is that of a great master very sure of his effects. However, it is also the imperfect side of the film which seduces, a form of youthful ardor, a trembling perhaps due to its militant side, and which ignite the ultra-refined post-Hitchcockian surface. Too bad, then, if the third act drags on, if some dialogue scenes sound borrowed. Everything, rather than remaining locked in the prison of one's own mastery.

Anya Taylor-Joy as Tilda Swinton's daughter in Room Next Door by Pedro Almodóvar?

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