Acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar will be back at the Venice Film Festival this year, with his latest, Parallel Mothers, opening the fest on September 1st. This film reteams Almodóvar with actress Penélope Cruz, who earned her first Oscar nomination for his 2006 entry Volver, and also stars Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Julieta Serrano and Rossy De Palma. Most of Almodóvar’s recent works have bowed internationally at the Cannes Film Festival, including his previous film, Pain and Glory, which went on to earn two Oscar nominations.
From the Venice Film Festival, here’s the plot synopsis for the film, which definitely has echoes of frequent Almodóvar themes explored in past projects: “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.”
Almodóvar, who was awarded the Honorary Golden Lion at Venice’s 2019 edition, expressed his appreciation for this honor: “I was born as a film director in 1983 in Venice 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.”
Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera also had positive words to share. “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. 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.”