With the Cannes Film Festival behind us and Venice ahead, cinema is back in full form. That means a new Pedro Almodóvar film is right around the corner, with the Spanish Oscar winner’s latest, “Parallel Mothers,” set to open the Biennale on September 1. The film is written and directed by Almodóvar, and stars both regular and new collaborators, including Penélope Cruz, Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, plus Julieta Serrano and Rossy De Palma.
“I was born as a film director in 1983 in Venice,” said Almodóvar in a statement, “in the Mezzogiorno Mezzanotte section. Thirty-eight years later I am called to open the festival. I cannot explain the joy and the honor, and how much this means to me without falling into complacency. I am very grateful to the festival for this recognition and hope to be up to it.”
Here’s the synopsis for the film courtesy of Venice: “Two women, Janis and Ana, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and got pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant, and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which chance will undertake to develop and complicate in such a decisive way that it will change the lives of both.”
Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera said, “I am grateful to Pedro Almodóvar for having given us the privilege of opening the film festival with his new movie, an intense and sensitive portrait of two women as they contend with a pregnancy with unpredictable consequences, women’s solidarity, and sexuality that is experienced in full freedom and without hypocrisy, all against the backdrop of a reflection on the ineluctable need for truth that is to be unwaveringly pursued.”
He added, “This is a very welcome return to Venice in Competition for the recipient of our 2019 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, many years after the success of ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,’ the movie that marked his definitive triumph on the international scene.”
“Parallel Mothers” will screen Wednesday, September 1 in the Sala Grande at the Palazzo del Cinema. Sony Pictures Classics will later release the film stateside.
“Parallel Mothers” is Almodóvar’s first feature directorial effort since “Pain and Glory,” which won Antonio Banderas the Best Actor prize at Cannes and earned Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best International Feature Film. Almodóvar’s most recent release was the short film “The Human Voice,” starring Tilda Swinton.