Volver (15)

Written and Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Screening at FACT from 25th August – 7th September 2006

Reviewed by Adam Ford

A fake arse, of all things!

I didn’t go to this film solely to watch Penélope Cruz sashaying across the screen, but at the end of the day it’s a matter of biological and societal programming, so I'm not going to apologise. Anyway, when I left the cinema and got on the internet, the word ‘prosthetic’ leapt out at me.

Did I really waste two hours? Well no, far from it. I’m not that shallow. In fact - as if to prove how cultured I really am - Volver (or ‘return’ en Español) reminded me a lot of Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’. The vivid colour scheme was exactly the same, it was set in Spain, and every other scene showed females exercising their lachrymal glands. Men weren’t centre stage, but it was mostly their cruelty that had produced the misery. And it was conceived by a man, Pedro Almodóvar (of Bad Education amongst many others).

Raimunda (Cruz) lives in Madrid with her daughter (Yohana Cobo) and waster husband (Antonio de la Torre). Her sister Sole (Lola Dueñas) is separated and works as an ‘illegal’ hairdresser, whatever one of those is. Though the sisters lost their mother (Carmen Maura) four years ago, their aunt (Chus Lampreave) talks as if she never died. When the aunt shuffles off this mortal coil, the sisters’ past comes back to haunt them.

This is quite an unusual movie. Despite all the abuse, death and tears, the playful splash of vibrant colours gives it a kind of ‘fun’ feel. All the performers are successful in conveying the peaks and troughs of emotion, and Cruz’s acting comes alive in her native tongue. But Volver is also poorly paced, and somehow unsatisfying. There was much to tug on the heart strings, but the only thing that engaged my mind was exactly how a director goes about telling an actress he wants her to wear a fake arse.

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Comment left by Dazza on 9th September, 2006 at 14:54
Is it Good though?

Comment left by Adam on 9th September, 2006 at 15:05
It's a bit of a weepy, but not much to talk about afterwards. Is that good? Depends on your mood I suppose.

Comment left by Amanda DeAngeles on 10th September, 2006 at 11:19
I liked this film. It's a modern story, which is not a chick-flick, but gives insight into real Spanish traditions and how lives are affected by death,(even murder undetected)which I suppose must happen in this sad, sorry world. My opinion is it held my attention, gave suspense and would appeal to both men and women. I liked how Pedro Almodóvar did not follow a tired old formula. This film realistically shows how women interact with each other away from men. 'Fake arse' I can't help but imagine what the actress might have said to her female friends about that!

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