Monday, March 10, 2008

Volver: a Film by Pedro Almodovar

Do you believe in ghosts? Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) does not. She is a modern women trying to raise a daughter in a culture that persists in its superstitions. Even a move to the city has not helped her escape in the Spanish film Volver by director Pedro Almodovar. Yet, there is a mystery that she can not explain, if only she will notice.

Volver is a film about women. The initial scene is a cemetery full of old and young women polishing tombs and headstones. There is not a man to be seen there nor in the next several scenes. I began to wonder if the whole movie would be devoid of men. They seemed very irrelevant to the plot. I eventually I realized that it was the sins of men that created all the problems that the women in this film suffered. The only sympathetically portrayed male is a young man from a film company who hires Raimunda to serve the film crew lunch.

Throughout Volver are touches of Alfred Hitchcock. The way Raimundo mops up the blood from around a body and the way she throws the corpse into a freezer remind me of Psycho. The way the plot slowly reveals itself reminds me of Rear Window. How the director makes something real out of something that could not be suggests Vertigo.

When looking at the cover, disregard the claim that the film is a comedy. It is a very serious film with a few humorous movements. There are some story elements that will disturb sensitive viewers near the ending.

I am pleased to see many libraries in my area already own the DVD. I recommend it highly.

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