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More Cannes Winners: Diane Kruger to Become the New Isabelle Huppert + Best Director Coppola Oscar Chances?

'In the Fade' with Diane Kruger: Fatih Akin's German-language Avenging Woman drama may give its star the chance to become next awards season Isabelle Huppert. Diane Kruger: 2017–2018 awards season's Isabelle Huppert? The 2003 Cannes Film Festival's Female Revelation Chopard Trophy winner, Diane Kruger was Cannes' 2017 Best Actress winner for Fatih Akin's In the Fade / Aus dem Nichts. If Akin's German drama finds a U.S. distributor before the end of the year, Kruger could theoretically become the Isabelle Huppert of the 2017–2018 awards season – that is, in case the former does become a U.S. critics favorite while we stretch things a bit regarding the Kruger-Huppert commonalities. Just a bit, as both are European-born Best Actress Cannes winners who have been around for a while (in Huppert's case, for quite a while). Perhaps most importantly, like Huppert in Paul Verhoeven's Elle, Kruger plays a woman out for revenge in In the Fade. Diane Kruger-Isabelle Huppert 'differences' There is, however, one key difference between the two characters: in Elle, Huppert wants to avenge her own rape; in In the Fade, Kruger wants to avenge the death of her Turkish husband (Numan Acar) and their son (Rafael Santana) at the hands of white supremacist terrorists. Another key difference, this time about the Kruger-Huppert Cannes Film Festival connection: although Isabelle Huppert became a U.S. critics favorite – and later a Best Actress Oscar nominee – for her performance in Elle, her (unanimous) Best Actress Cannes win was for another movie, Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher / La pianiste back in 2001. At that time, Huppert also became a U.S. critics favorite (winning Best Actress honors in San Diego and San Francisco; a runner-up in Los Angeles and New York), but, perhaps because of the psychological drama's sexually charged nature, she failed to receive a matching Oscar nod. Last year's Cannes Best Actress, by the way, was Jaclyn Jose for Brillante Mendoza's Philippine drama Ma' Rosa. Huppert had been in contention as well, as Elle was in the running for the Palme d'Or. Diane Kruger Best Actress Oscar nomination chances? A Best Actress nomination for Diane Kruger at the German Academy Awards (a.k.a. Lolas) – for her first German-language starring role – is all but guaranteed. Curiously, that would be her first. As for a Best Actress Oscar nod, that's less certain. For starters, unlike the mostly well-reviewed Elle, In the Fade has sharply divided critics. The Hollywood Reporter, for one, summarized Akin's film as a “thriller made riveting by an emotional performance from Diane Kruger,” while The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called it a “mediocre revenge drama” with “a not particularly good” star turn. Besides, since the year 2000 just one “individual” Best Actress Cannes winner has gone on to receive an Oscar nomination for the same performance: Rooney Mara*, who, though one of the two leads in Todd Haynes' Carol (2011), was shortlisted in the Oscars' Best Supporting Actress category so as not to compete with her co-star and eventual Best Actress nominee Cate Blanchett. Then there's the special case of Penélope Cruz; the 2006 Best Actress Oscar nominee – for Pedro Almodóvar's Volver – was a Cannes winner as part of that family comedy-drama ensemble†. And finally, despite their Cannes Best Actress win for performances in (at least partly) English-language films, no less than seven other actresses have failed to be shortlisted for the Academy Awards this century. Björk, Dancer in the Dark (2000). Maggie Cheung, Clean (2004). Hanna Laslo, Free Zone (2005). Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist (2009). Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy (2010). Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia (2011). Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars (2014). Coincidentally, that same year Moore starred in Still Alice, which eventually earned her the Best Actress Oscar. Warner Bros. will be distributing In the Fade in Germany later this year. Regarding the Oscars, whether late in 2017 or late in 2018, seems like it would be helpful if Diane Kruger got a hold of Isabelle Huppert's – and/or Marion Cotillard's and Jean Dujardin's – U.S.-based awards season publicists. * Rooney Mara shared the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award with Emmanuelle Bercot for My King / Mon roi. † Also in the Cannes-winning Volver ensemble: Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Chus Lampreave, and Yohana Cobo. 'The Beguiled' trailer: Colin Farrell cast in the old Clint Eastwood role in Sofia Coppola's readaptation of Civil War-set, lust & circumstance drama. Sofia Coppola ends Cannes female drought About 13 years ago, Sofia Coppola became the first American woman to be shortlisted for the Best Director Academy Award – for the Tokyo-set drama Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Coppola eventually lost in that category to Peter Jackson for the blockbuster The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, but she did take home that year's Best Original Screenplay Oscar statuette. There haven't been any other Oscar nominations since, but her father-daughter drama Somewhere, toplining Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning, was the controversial Golden Lion winner at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. This year, Coppola has become only the second woman to win the Cannes Film Festival's Best Director Award – for The Beguiled, an American Civil War-set drama based on Thomas P. Cullinan's 1966 novel of the same name (originally published as A Painted Devil). With shades of Rumer Godden's Black Narcissus, The Beguiled follows a wounded Union soldier as he finds refuge at a girls' boarding school in Virginia. Sexual tension and assorted forms of pathological behavior ensue. Tenuous Cannes-Oscar Best Director connection From 2000 to 2016, 20 filmmakers† have taken home the Cannes Film Festival's Best Director Award. Of these, only four have gone on to receive matching Best Director Oscar nominations – but no wins: David Lynch, Mulholland Dr. (2001). Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel (2006). Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007). Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher (2014). Four other Cannes Best Director winners were bypassed by the Academy even though their movies featured – at least a sizable chunk of – English-language dialogue: Joel Coen, The Man Who Wasn't There§ (2001). Paul Thomas Anderson, Punch-Drunk Love (2002). Gus Van Sant, Elephant (2004). Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive (2011). In other words, a Best Director Cannes Film Festival win is no guarantee of a Best Director Academy Award nomination. Ultimately, Sofia Coppola's chances of an Oscar nod in the Best Director category depend on how well The Beguiled is received among Los Angeles and New York film circles, and how commercially successful – for an “arthouse movie” – it turns out to be. † During that period, there were three Cannes Film Festival Best Director ties: 2001: Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There§ & David Lynch for Mulholland Dr. 2002: Im Kwon-taek for Painted Fire & Paul Thomas Anderson for Punch-Drunk Love. 2016: Cristian Mungiu for Graduation & Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper. Both films opened in the U.S. in spring 2017 and may thus be eligible for the upcoming awards season. § Ethan Coen co-directed The Man Who Wasn't There, but didn't receive credit in that capacity. 'The Beguiled' with Nicole Kidman. The Best Actress Oscar winner ('The Hours,' 2002) had two movies in the Cannes Film Festival's Official Competition; the other one was 'The Killing of the Secret Deer,' also with Colin Farrell. Moreover, Kidman was the recipient of Cannes' special 70th Anniversary Prize. 'Sly' & 'elegant' Also adapted by Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled will be distributed in the U.S. by Oscar veteran Focus Features (Brokeback Mountain, The Danish Girl). The film has generally received positive notices – e.g., “sly” and “elegant” in the words of Time magazine's Stephanie Zacharek – and could well become a strong awards season contender in various categories. The cast includes The Killing of a Sacred Deer actors Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, in addition to Kirsten Dunst (the star of Coppola's Marie Antoinette), Somewhere actress Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Addison Riecke, Angourie Rice, and Emma Howard. As an aside, Cullinan's novel also served as the basis for Don Siegel's The Beguiled (1971), a Southern Gothic effort adapted by Irene Kamp and former Hollywood Ten member Albert Maltz. In the cast of what turned out to be a major box office flop: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, and Jo Ann Harris. Women directors at Cannes & the Oscars For the record, Soviet filmmaker Yuliya Solntseva was the Cannes Film Festival's first Best Director winner, for The Story of the Flaming Years back in 1961. The only woman to have directed a Palme d'Or winner is Jane Campion, for The Piano (1993). Early in 1994, Campion became the second woman to be shortlisted for an Academy Award in the Best Director category. The first one was Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties (1976). 'A Gentle Night' & 'Montparnasse Bienvenue' Qiu Yang's short film Palme d'Or winner A Gentle Night should be automatically eligible for the 2018 Academy Awards. But competition, as usual, will be fierce. In the last decade, the only short film Palme d'Or winner to have received an Oscar nomination is Juanjo Giménez Peña's Timecode (2016), in the Best Live Action Short Film category. This article was originally published at Alt Film Guide (http://www.altfg.com/).
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 855

1988 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 89 min. / Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date February 21, 2017 / 39.95

Starring Carmen Maura, Fernando Guillén, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, Rossy de Palma, María Barranco, Kiti Manver, Guillermo Montesinos, Chus Lampreave, Yayo Calvo, Loles León, Ángel de Andrés López, José Antonio Navarro.

Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine

Film Editor: José Salcedo

Original Music: Bernardo Bonezzi

Produced by: Augustin Almodóvar

Written and Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Connected film festival attendees learned about Pedro Almodóvar before everybody else, especially if they had an understanding of new developments in Spanish cinema. Film school had shown us nothing but the very exceptional work of Luis Buñuel, most of which is really from Mexico and France. In the 1980s we Angelenos were just getting access to films by the old-school ‘traditional’ rebel Spaniards Carlos Saura and Juan Antonio Bardem.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Rossy de Palma on Trusting Pedro Almodóvar, ‘Julieta,’ and Being Inspired by Women

When you think Pedro Almodóvar, you think Rossy de Palma. The actress’ unconventional, but striking, beauty has often made her the most memorable player in the auteur’s works, from her uptight virgin in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, to the heroine’s sister in The Flower of My Secret. In Julieta, which marks lucky number seven in de Palma’s collaborations with Almodóvar, she plays Marian, an overprotective housekeeper who looks after what she thinks should be her employer Xoan’s (Daniel Grao) interests. After meeting the title character, played in younger age by Adriana Ugarte, who is about to become the new mistress of the house, Marian reveals a secret that sets the entire plot into its tragic motion.

The usually glamorous actress – she’s been muse to designers like Thierry Mugler and Jean-Paul Gaultier – is seen sporting a frumpy, matronly look as Marian, in
See full article at The Film Stage »

Best of April Watching Icymi

We're mixing up the month-end Icymi post to hopefully make it more enticing/interesting with random awards and different categories like so...

5 Most Discussed Posts

Current Stars Who Deserve an Oscar Nod - they've earned momentum

Q&A -Animals & late 80s/early 90s films

Posterized: Tom Hiddleston - where to post-Loki?

Posterized: Melissa McCarthy - she's having quite a career

Pfeiffer & Aronofsky - yup, they'll be working together 

5 Favorite Posts

Bob's Burgers & The Birds - Hitchcock references for the win 

The Furniture: The Force Awakens - that myth-making forest! 

Witness - So pleasurable to revisit this for the Best Shot roundup

Please Switch Off Your Phone - the actresses are actressing, for chrissakes 

April Showers Blue Valentine - oh I need to see this again

Best of Nathaniel's Random April Watching

Best Old Thing: Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957)

Best New Thing: The Fits (2016)

Best Actor: Ben Whishaw in
See full article at FilmExperience »

April Showers: Antonio Banderas in "Law of Desire"

In April Showers, Team Tfe looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Manuel on Law of Desire (1987).

Almodóvar is the air again due to Chus Lampreave's passing and his latest, Julieta getting solid reviews (his best since Volver). And since April is “Actor Month” here at Tfe let's kill two birds with one stone by looking at a small scene featuring Antonio Banderas and Eusebio Poncela from the 1987 classic Law of Desire.

The film centers on Antonio (Banderas) and his obsessive fixation with a gay film director (Poncela). After stalking him and eventually roping his way into his life, Antonio settles on trying to shape Pablo after his own image. First, he fixes some things around Pablo’s messy apartment, including some tiles in his shower, and then, the next day he takes it upon himself to set some sort of routine for them.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Chus Lampreave (1930-2016)

Almodóvar aficionados, like you and I, have been dreading this day. But every great movie face eventually only still flickers on screens and in our memories. The great Chus Lampreave, so memorable in so many Pedro Almodóvar movies, has died at 85 years of age. She had been home bound recently in Almería.

Her film career began when Pedro was just a pre-teen. She was given her first acting job by the director Jaime de Armiñán. Like many directors after him, he worked with her repeatedly, including in the Oscar nominated film My Dearest Senorita (1972). She came to international fame via her relationship with Pedro Almodóvar though. She joined his troupe early on as one of his subversive nuns in Dark Habits (1983). She was always easy to spot with those coke bottle glasses, that tiny frame and inimitable voice. Dark Habits was the first of eight collaborations with Pedro over the
See full article at FilmExperience »

Reader: Christian in Barcelona

We're getting to know The Film Experience readership. Today we're talking to "Peggy Sue" who you know from the comments. Though he is more likely to answer to "Christian" in person ;)

Hi, Christian. Let's start at the very beginning. Your first movie memory?

Christian: Mary Poppins' cough syrup. I'll explain. As a kid I was always sick, so I vividly remember being amazed by her changing colors medicine. Mine was brownish and disgusting so I thought the whole flying thing was Ok, but the syrup was utterly amazing!

What is your relationship to Pedro Almodóvar and his muses?

Christian: Total devotion. My favorites are Carmen Maura, Verónica Forqué and Chus Lampreave.

Your three favorite actresses in general?

Three? Man, you're tough! I'll stick to the living ones: Kathleen Turner, Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, and Meryl. Plus almost every single British actress out there and half of the Argentinians.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Volver (2006)

After he had directed a film that combines both his style and the genre of thriller, which means Bad Education, Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar came back to his artistic roots.

Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueñas) are two sisters who live in Madrid and their parents died in a fire three years before the events in the film. Was she was visiting her agonizing aunt (Chus Lampreave), Sole believes that she had seen and talked to the ghost of Irene (Carmen Maura), her mom. Apparently, Irene has some unfinished business to deal with. As a matter of fact, Irene doesn't understand why Raimunda, since her adolescence, has always loathed her.

Meanwhile, Raimunda and her daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo), cope with the death of Paco (Antonio de la Torre), Raimunda's husband and Paula's dad. Indeed, after he had told Paula that he's not her biological father, Paco tried to rape Paula.
See full article at The Cultural Post »

Exclusive Video: Lluis Homar and Blanca Portillo Talk Broken Embraces

Heralded Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with his latest dramatic masterpiece Broken Embraces, which will be released on November 20 in New York City and will expand to Los Angeles and additional markets on December 11. For his new film, Almodovar enlisted the help of familiar faces like Penelope Cruz, who worked with Almodovar in Volver, Lluis Homar, who appeared in Bad Education, and Blanca Portillo who also starred in Volver.

We recently had the chance to speak exclusively with Homar and Portillo about this heralded new movie, and here's what the had to say.

Broken Embraces stars Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar, Blanca Portilla, Rossy de Palma, Kiti Manver, Chus Lampreave, Lola Duenas, Angela Molina and will be released on November 20 in New York City and on December 11 in Los Angeles and other markets.
See full article at MovieWeb »

Broken Embraces - Poster

Broken Embraces is a four–way tale of amour–fou, shot in the style of ‘50s American film noir at its most hard–boiled, and will mix references to works like Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place and Vincente Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful, with signature Almodóvar themes such as Fate, the mystery of creation, guilt, unscrupulous power, the eternal search of fathers for sons, and sons for fathers. Broken Embraces is an original screenplay written by tPedro Almodóvar which see's him once team up with Penelope Cruz following their successful collaboration on Volver, for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. The films also star Lluis Homar of Bad Education and Blanca Portilla of Volver. Regular Almodóvar contributors, such as Rossy de Palma, Kiti Manver, Chus Lampreave and Lola Dueñas have also joined the cast. Veteran actor Ángela Molina, who starred in Live Flesh,
See full article at LateFilmFull »

We Can't Wait #19 Broken Embraces

Directed by Almodovar

Starring Penélope Cruz, Lola Dueñas, Chus Lampreave and Blanca Portillo from Volver. Plus: José Luis Gómez, Rossy de Palma (yay!) and Rubén Ochandiano

Synopsis The plot details of this contemporary thriller are being kept secret so the official synopsis is bare bones: "Fourteen years after having an accident that left him blind, a writer and filmmaker remembers the circumstances that surrounded him and the woman that he loved".

Brought to you by El Deseo & Sony Pictures Classics

Expected Release Date November (that's the Almodóvar slot)

Nathaniel: Pedro (also known as "The Greatest Living Film Director") makes sensational cinema and I love that he's been on this Hitchcock groove lately -- think of that great score for Volver or the threatening underlay of Bad Education. He promises this one is funny, too.

Whitney: The first Almodóvar I saw was Talk to Her, and I've felt uncomfortable with him ever since.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Sony Pictures Classics to distribute Almodovar's "Broken Embraces"

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up rights to distribute Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces" in North America. Penelope Cruz stars in the film which has been filming in the Canary Islands and Madrid. Almodovar directs from his own screenplay, the '50s film-noir-styled film which apparently follows four characters (played by Penelope Cruz, Blanca Portillo, Lluis Homar and Jose Luis Gomez). Also cast are Rossy de Palma, Chus Lampreave, Angela Molina, Kiti Manver and Lola Duenas. Augustin Almodovar produces. Spc makes this the tenth film they are distributing by Almodovar.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

Almodovar, SPC team for 10th time

Almodovar, SPC team for 10th time
Sony Pictures Classics, renewing its longtime ties to Pedro Almodovar, has acquired North American rights to the writer-director's latest film, "Broken Embraces," starring Penelope Cruz.

Cruz, who received a best actress Oscar nomination for Almodovar's previous film, "Volver," will play a provincial actress in the movie, which has been shooting in Madrid and the Canary Islands. Working from his own screenplay, Almodovar has described the movie as an amour fou involving four characters (played by Cruz, Blanca Portillo, Lluis Homar and Jose Luis Gomez) in the style of a hard-boiled, '50s American film noir. The cast also includes Rossy de Palma, Kiti Manver, Chus Lampreave, Lola Duenas and Angela Molina, who will play Cruz's mother.

Produced by the director's brother, Augustin Almodovar, "Embraces" is the 10th Almodovar film that Spc has handled. In addition to "Volver," Spc was the domestic distributor for Almodovar's foreign-language Oscar winner "All About My Mother,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Volver

Volver
This review was written for the festival screening of "Volver".CANNES - The power of motherhood and the blessing of good friends run as themes through Pedro Almodovar's entertaining fantasy "Volver", even though the central topics are abuse and death.

Penelope Cruz has never looked lovelier or acted better as a prickly but resourceful woman whose long-held secret about the father of her teenage daughter is revealed only upon the appearance of her dead mother as a ghost.

It says a great deal about Almodovar's skill as a filmmaker that he can weave whimsical humor and stark drama together in such a winning fashion. It's hard not to believe audiences will respond warmly.

The memorable opening sequence shows a platoon of widows and daughters cleaning the gravestones of their departed loved ones in the windswept cemetery of La Mancha. Among them are Raimunda (Cruz) and her sister Sole (Lola Duenas), whose parents died in a house fire.

Like the Santa Anas in Los Angeles, the wind in La Mancha causes troubled minds, as the sisters' Aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave) demonstrates. Living alone, she has begun to see the image of her late sister Irene (Carmen Maura). The village women calmly accept that Irene has returned in order to take care of the aging and addled Paula.

The practical Raimunda, meanwhile, has lazy husband Paco (Antonio de la Torre) to worry about and several jobs to juggle. Her life is turned on its head when she finds daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo) standing in the rain in shock and discovers that she has stabbed Paco to death defending herself from sexual assault.

The fact that Paco was not Paula's father is quickly revealed, but she tells the girl that her real father also is dead. With steely determination, Raimunda hides the corpse in the freezer of a neighborhood restaurant that she is minding while the owner is away.

Almodovar sketches these scenes with great invention so that the horror of the situation is lightened but not ignored and events move quickly. When a movie crew needs somewhere to eat while on location, Raimunda comes to the rescue by opening the restaurant, relying on friends and neighbors to help her collect and prepare the food.

During this time, Aunt Paula has died, and Sole has not only encountered the ghost of her dead mother but also has her staying in the spare bedroom pretending to be a Russian emigre when customers show up for her unlicensed hairdressing service.

Kindly neighbor Agustina (Blanca Portillo), who has also cared for Aunt Paula, reveals that she has inoperable cancer and the circle that Almodovar creates between the living and the dead, parents and children, sisters and friends, becomes complete, though there are many further complications along the way.

The picture is beautifully shot by Jose Luis Alcaine, and the music of Alberto Iglesias complements it gracefully. Cruz is in top form, and the cast - which includes Maura working with the director for the first time in almost two decades - enters into the spirit of things.

It's very difficult to mesh fantasy with reality, but with great charm and a light touch, Almodovar shows exactly how it should be done.

Cannes film festival Winners

  •  Well the Palmes are given out and it seems political correctness has won again. Everybody got something with the big prizes going to small films The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)The Wind That Shakes The Barley
[/link], and Flanders that would have otherwise died at the box office. Volver got two Palmes for directing and acting but should have gotten the Golden one. Also "Babel" got the directing one which I knew it would get but it will collect many awards later this year along with "Volver".As Ken Loach said we live in political times and it didn't escape the jury, specially with China banning the controversial "Summer Place". Next year will be the 60th year of the festival and you can be sure, it will be a nice anniversary. A bientot.The AwardsPalme d'Or: "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" by Ken LoachGrand Prix (runner-up): "Flanders" by Bruno DumontPrix de la Mise
See full article at ioncinema »

Volver

Volver
CANNES -- The power of motherhood and the blessing of good friends run as themes through Pedro Almodovar's entertaining fantasy Volver, even though the central topics are abuse and death.

Penelope Cruz has never looked lovelier or acted better as a prickly but resourceful woman whose long-held secret about the father of her teenage daughter is revealed only upon the appearance of her dead mother as a ghost.

It says a great deal about Almodovar's skill as a filmmaker that he can weave whimsical humor and stark drama together in such a winning fashion. It's hard not to believe audiences will respond warmly.

The memorable opening sequence shows a platoon of widows and daughters cleaning the gravestones of their departed loved ones in the windswept cemetery of La Mancha. Among them are Raimunda (Cruz) and her sister Sole (Lola Duenas), whose parents died in a house fire.

Like the Santa Anas in Los Angeles, the wind in La Mancha causes troubled minds, as the sisters' Aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave) demonstrates. Living alone, she has begun to see the image of her late sister Irene (Carmen Maura). The village women calmly accept that Irene has returned in order to take care of the aging and addled Paula.

The practical Raimunda, meanwhile, has lazy husband Paco (Antonio de la Torre) to worry about and several jobs to juggle. Her life is turned on its head when she finds daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo) standing in the rain in shock and discovers that she has stabbed Paco to death defending herself from sexual assault.

The fact that Paco was not Paula's father is quickly revealed, but she tells the girl that her real father also is dead. With steely determination, Raimunda hides the corpse in the freezer of a neighborhood restaurant that she is minding while the owner is away.

Almodovar sketches these scenes with great invention so that the horror of the situation is lightened but not ignored and events move quickly. When a movie crew needs somewhere to eat while on location, Raimunda comes to the rescue by opening the restaurant, relying on friends and neighbors to help her collect and prepare the food.

During this time, Aunt Paula has died, and Sole has not only encountered the ghost of her dead mother but also has her staying in the spare bedroom pretending to be a Russian emigre when customers show up for her unlicensed hairdressing service.

Kindly neighbor Agustina (Blanca Portillo), who has also cared for Aunt Paula, reveals that she has inoperable cancer and the circle that Almodovar creates between the living and the dead, parents and children, sisters and friends, becomes complete, though there are many further complications along the way.

The picture is beautifully shot by Jose Luis Alcaine, and the music of Alberto Iglesias complements it gracefully. Cruz is in top form, and the cast -- which includes Maura working with the director for the first time in almost two decades -- enters into the spirit of things.

It's very difficult to mesh fantasy with reality, but with great charm and a light touch, Almodovar shows exactly how it should be done.

VOLVER

Sony Pictures Classics

El Deseo

Credits:

Screenwriter-director: Pedro Almodovar

Producer: Esther Garcia

Executive producer: Agustin Almodovar

Director of photography: Jose Luis Alcaine

Art director: Salvador Parra

Editor: Jose Salcedo

Composer: Alberto Iglesias

Cast:

Raimunda: Penelope Cruz

Irene: Carmen Maura

Sole: Lola Duenas

Agustina: Blanca Portillo

Paula: Yohana Cobo

Aunt Paula: Chus Lampreave

Paco: Antonio de la Torre

Emilio: Carlos Blanco

Regina: Maria Isabel Diaz

Ines: Nieves Sanz Escobar

Production assistant: Leandro Rivera

TV presenter: Yolanda Ramos

Carlos: Carlos Garcia Cambero

MPAA rating R

Running time -- 121 minutes

'Volver' adds trio

'Volver' adds trio
MADRID -- Pedro Almodovar's production house, El Deseo, announced Monday that actresses Lola Duenas, Blanca Portillo and Chus Lampreave will join stars Penelope Cruz and Carmen Maura in Almodovar's next film, Volver. The film is to begin shooting in Madrid and the director's home region of Castilla-La Mancha in July. Almodovar has described the film as a generational comedy about three women who travel to Madrid in search of a better life. Focus Features Entertainment is handling international sales, while Sony Pictures Classics will distribute Volver in the United States.

Film review: 'Torrente'

Film review: 'Torrente'
Santiago Segura's black comedy about a corrupted and crooked cop is the highest-grossing Spanish film in its native country; if the endlessly repellent and disgusting goings-on in this outrageous effort are any indication, Spaniards are in serious trouble.

Imagine "Ace Ventura" directed by John Waters and you'll get an idea of the humor on display. The film was recently showcased at the Miami Film Festival, where its lack of political correctness engendered gales of audience laughter.

Actually, "Torrente, the Dumb Arm of the Law" starts out promisingly. The filmmaker's wickedly satirical sensibility is immediately apparent in an amusing sequence in which the title character, memorably played by Segura, cruises the streets of Madrid looking approvingly at the crimes and mayhem being perpetrated around him. When he stops by a grocery store that is suddenly held up by a pair of robbers, Torrente not only doesn't intervene but takes the opportunity to snatch a few things for himself.

Unfortunately, once we understand the degree of the character's loutishness, there is nowhere to go but down. Segura piles on the outrageousness and cruelty, looking for laughs in such areas as Torrente's shocking lack of personal hygiene and his abusive treatment of his elderly crippled father. One of the many cringe-inducing visuals shows the character shaking his ratty hairpiece to get the cockroaches out. Sweaty, fat and endlessly flatulent, the racist and misogynistic Torrente is one of the most unlikely screen protagonists ever.

Among the film's ramshackle plot developments are Torrente's mentoring of a nearsighted, geeky young neighbor, whom he takes to a local park for target practice that endangers small children; his unlikely romantic relationship with that young man's nymphomaniac sister; and his stumbling onto a drug-selling operation being conducted at the local Chinese restaurant. But storytelling is beside the point; Segura's interest lies in grossing out his audience as much as possible -- and he succeeds admirably.

Somehow, he even manages to make this detestable character perversely likeable; perhaps it's because in this endlessly wishy-washy era, Torrente makes no apologies for his unremittingly sleazy behavior. Considering the film's boxoffice success, no doubt he'll be back to wreak more havoc.

TORRENTE, THE DUMB ARM OF THE LAW

Lolafilms, Rocabruno and Cartel

Direction/screenplay: Santiago Segura

Producer: Andres Vicente Gomez

Associate producer: Marco Gomez

Cinematography: Carles Gusi

Editor: Fidel Collados

Music: Roque Banos

Color/stereo

Cast:

Torrente: Santiago Segura

Rafi: Javier Camara

Amparito: Neus Asensi

Reme: Chus Lampreave

Father: Tony Leblanc

Malaguita: Julian Sanjuan

Running time -- 97 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites