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Raimunda, her daughter Paula and her sister Sole travel from Madrid to the windy and superstitious village of Alcanfor de las Infantas to visit the grave of their mother Irene, who died years ago in a fire with her husband. Then they visit Irene's sister Paula, an old senile aunt that raised Raimunda after the death of her parents that insists to tell them that Irene is alive and living with her; later, they go to the house of her neighbor and friend Agustina, who gives a support to Paula. They return to Madrid, and after a hard day of work, Raimunda meets her daughter completely distraught at the bus stop waiting for her. When they arrive home, Paula tells her mother that she killed her unemployed father Paco, who was completely drunk and tried to rape her. While Raimunda hides his body, Sole calls her to tell that their beloved aunt Paula has died. The next morning, Sole travels alone to the funeral, and when she returns to Madrid, she finds her mother hidden in the trunk of her car... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
'Volver' starts at a cemetery where the women are cleaning the graves on a windy day. Young mother Raimunda (Cruz), who after attending her mother's grave, finds herself widowed, thanks to her daughter. Her sister, Sole (Lola Duenas) sees a ghost of her dead mother and their battling-with-cancer friend Augustina is in search of her own truth about her mother. Almodovar's colourful canvas is a wonderful portrait of women in Spain. Though it is a colourful portrait, it's dark but somewhat humorous and appealing. Almodovar tells the story in a sensible but somewhat simpler tone. There are some shocking revelations but 'Volver' does not dwell on any one particular incident. It's the story of the women.
Penelope Cruz gives one of her finest performances. It's been evident in her recent film choices (that also include 'Bandidas' that she's experimenting with different roles. As Raimunda, she speaks her mind, she's energetic, she's brave and a risk taker but at the same time she's vulnerable and is hiding a dark 'shameful' secret. Lola Duenas's Sole is a loner (but she loves her sister and niece). She's independent and satisfied with her life. The actress does nothing short of a great job. Carmen Maura is equally great as the 'ghost' bringing lots of laughter but even during Irene's own vulnerable sad moments she is outstanding. Portillo's Agustina, is a quieter lonely character who loves the sisters. The actress skillfully underplays her part and her immense talent is especially evident in the darkly humorous and somewhat sad talk-show scene. Like Almodovar's 'Todo Sobre Mi Madre', 'Volver' is about distinctive female characters and the viewer loves these women and feel involved in their stories.
Like most Almodovar's films, the soundtrack is part of the narration that adds to his slightly weird chaotic world. Similarly, Iglesias's score brings out the richness of the atmosphere created by the wonderful cinematography (thanks to excellent photography). The Spanish streets, the vivacious culture is just presented in Almodovar's unique style.
'Volver' is witty, warm, funny, colourful, disturbing, uplifting and lightly dark with a well told story and lovable characters portrayed wonderfully by the actresses.
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