Connect with us

Celebrities

Venice 2021 ‘Parallel Mothers’ Review: Pedro Almodóvar Opens the 78th Venice Film Festival with Mothers, Mix-Ups, and Melodrama

Published

on

Venice 2021 ‘Parallel Mothers’ Review: Pedro Almodóvar Opens the 78th Venice Film Festival with Mothers, Mix-Ups, and Melodrama

Pedro Almodóvar’s cinematic universe is undoubtedly ruled by women. From the colorful hysterics of his breakthrough feature Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to the equally theatrical — though more contemplative — intergenerational melodramas All About My Mother and Volver, women are depicted as the custodians of the past, the heroines of the present, and the bearers of the future. But if women dominate the screen in Parallel Mothers, so, too, does the absence of men.

Opening the 78th Venice International Film Festival, Parallel Mothers (Spanish title: Madres Paralelas) is the story of Janis (Penélope Cruz) and Ana (Milena Smit), two expectant mothers who meet in a maternity ward shortly before going into labor. Janis is nearly 40 and works as a professional fashion photographer. Her pregnancy is the result of an affair with married forensic archaeologist Arturo (Israel Elejalde), and although it’s unexpected, she welcomes the chance to be a mother. Ana is seemingly her opposite: a teenager terrified in the face of an unwanted pregnancy and intent on burying the past that led to her current situation. When the identities of their newborn babies are called into question, the sort of campy mix-ups, misunderstandings, and plot twists one would expect from an Almodóvar film ensue. But underneath lies a much more serious story: a reflection on personal and national history that follows in line with Almodóvar’s new era of stylistic and narrative maturity introduced by 2019’s autobiographical Pain and Glory.

Janis’s relationship with Arturo begins not with an affair, but with a request for help: she wants to exhume the bodies of her great-grandfather and 10 other desaparecidos from her town who were shot and buried in an unmarked grave by Falangists during the Franco regime. Her desire is simple: to give her great-grandfather a proper burial and a headstone. The obstacles are more bureaucratic than anything else, and once Arturo agrees, this secondary storyline fades into the background as the two mothers and their ever-shifting relationship take center stage. But the weight of the past gives thematic meaning to the present and the future, implying that historical violence becomes part of our DNA whether we like it or not, and that it must be confronted in order to move forward and create new life.

Having come of age during the Francoist regime, Almodóvar’s work has always been in some way a reaction to the oppressive political environment of his youth. His early films, made during his time as part of La Movida Madrileña (Madrid’s post-Franco countercultural movement), were a rebellious expression of the need for a new, post-Franco identity. Sexuality, pop art, postmodernism, and camp were flung together to tell soap opera-esque stories of desire and betrayal, unfolding in a series of dizzying plot twists.

The styles and themes of his youthful era echo clearly in Parallel Mothers, but at age 71, Almodóvar’s style has become more muted, his themes more reflective. The Douglas Sirk-inspired set design remains present throughout — especially in Janis’s stylish Madrid apartment — but the color-blocked primary hues of the past have been replaced with more naturalistic greens and oranges. At times, the story stops to observe a signature moment of playful postmodern framing: a Blow Up-style fashion shoot, a monologue by Ana’s thespian mother. Moments like these don’t entirely mesh with the mood of the film, just as the campier plot twists never feel wholly necessary amidst the more serious — and ultimately, more interesting —  storylines of birth, death, and remembrance. But they have a nostalgic familiarity to them, the director nodding to the loyal viewers who have followed him into this new chapter.

Of course, the most iconic element that Almodóvar carries over to Parallel Mothers is none other than his trusted lead Cruz, who makes the transition into independent and imperfect single mother Janis with compelling intensity. She finds her foil in the 24-year-old Smit, whose androgynous looks and headstrong desire for autonomy encapsulate the spirit of Gen Z.

The dynamic that develops between their two characters echoes the dynamic Almodóvar seeks to create between himself and his country’s youth: the director imbues Cruz’s character with his own urgent determination to unearth the violence of the past, to make the absence of the thousands of desaparecidos felt. He neither ignores the new generation nor attempts to represent it. Rather, he talks to it through Janis, passing down stories and imparting social responsibility like a cinematic elder. It is a graceful evolution for one of Spain’s most iconic auteurs, one that enables the exploration of new territory without compromising a brand built over the course of 22 feature films.

Janis and Ana, mothers and fathers, new life and remembered death; Parallel Mothers is full of parallel and intersecting lines. The scenes where they cross — a kiss set to the coarse crooning of Janis Joplin or the confused gaze of a baby before a grave — create the kind of wordless power that only masterful filmmakers can achieve. Not every line is followed to its end, and much is left unsaid. But enough is understood to create a warm portrait of motherhood, whose glow nonetheless does not quite cancel out the shadow of missing fatherhood.

To support the site and gain access to exclusive content, consider becoming a patron.

google news
Advertisement
Click to comment

Celebrities

Kourtney Kardashian & Travis Barker ‘Can’t Wait’ To Get Married: Their Wedding Plans Revealed

Published

on

Kourtney Kardashian & Travis Barker

Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker reportedly ‘can’t wait’ to plan for their upcoming nuptials after a romantic engagement. Find out more about their wedding plans here!

Reeling in post-engagement bliss! Kourtney Kardashian, 42, and Travis Barker, 45, are having a whirlwind week after Travis popped the question on Sunday, and now, they’re sharing some details about their upcoming wedding plans. A source close to the couple spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife to discuss how much the Poosh founder and Blink-182 drummer “can’t wait” to tie the knot.

“They’re planning a small, intimate wedding and they’re only planning on inviting those closest to them,” the source revealed, adding how the couple’s in a “positive space” and only wants to be surrounded by people who have “supported” them. “Honestly, in their minds, as long as they have each other, the day is already considered perfect.”

Travis Barker & Kourtney Kardashian in Venice. (Ciao Pix/Shutterstock)
So have the lovebirds set a date? According to our source, Kourtney and Travis are “still playing around with a few dates” for their walk down the aisle, also “bouncing around a couple of ideas” in terms of location. “Due to Travis’s fear of flying, it likely won’t be a far away destination wedding,” the source added, noting how the two just wanted to “enjoy their special day.”
Following the news of their whirlwind engagement, a source close to the KarJenners revealed to HL that the family, including Kourtney’s three children, were beyond thrilled. Kourtney shares Mason, 11, Penelope, 9, and Reign, 6, with ex-boyfriend Scott Disick. “The kids are super happy about this, as is Kourtney’s entire family,” the source said.

“They adore Travis and they love their blended family,” the source continued, adding that Travis treats his wife-to-be’s children “like his own.” The fact that Travis is “extremely hands on” and a “good father” to his children, whom he shares with ex-wife Shanna Moakler, is “one of the things that attracted” Kourtney most to him, the insider added.

Kourtney Kardashian & Travis Barker
Kourtney Kardashian & Travis Barker share a sweet kiss. (Matt Baron/Shutterstock)

Travis popped the question on a beautiful beach in Montecito, California with a stunning oval diamond ring designed by Lorraine Schwartz, who revealed that the musician was involved in the creation of the stone. “I worked on it with Travis and he was a really big part of it,” the designer told PEOPLE following the engagement news. “He was really hands-on in the whole making of it. It’s gorgeous and they’re happy.”

google news
Continue Reading

Celebrities

How Travis Scott Is Supporting Kylie Jenner During Her Second Pregnancy

Published

on

travis scott and kylie jenner

Sources tells HollywoodLife exclusively that Travis Scott has been going ‘above and beyond’ for Kylie Jenner during her second pregnancy. Get more details here.

Travis Scott has “been a rock” for Kylie Jenner during her second pregnancy, sources have revealed exclusively to HollywoodLife. The couple, who also share daughter Stormi, 3, together, confirmed they were expecting baby number two in September; and according to a source close to the rapper, 30, Travis has been very hands on.

“Travis knows that Kylie has a lot on her plate and is handling everything like a boss even while she’s pregnant,” the source told HL. “Although he’s always there for his daughter, he’s made sure to take an extra hand in caring for Stormi so Kylie can get as much rest as she needs.” The Grammy-nominated artist has been joining the Kylie Cosmetics founder, 24, on doctors visits and taking  a “completely active role,” per the source.

“He asks the doctors questions during the visits because he wants to be looped in through every step of this process,” the source explained. “He’s been a rock for Kylie and they can’t wait to bring another child into this world.” A second source close to Kylie has added that she “loves how attentive” Travis has been, revealing that the rapper has been going “above and beyond” for his growing family.

“Although they’ve been down this road before with Stormi, Travis is literally going above and beyond, especially with Kylie juggling her many business ventures,” the source said. “He’s always been a very hands on father, which is why Kylie wanted to have another baby with him.” The source added, “She knows that Travis is really excited to be expanding their family because he absolutely loves fatherhood.”

The on-again, off-again couple split in 2019 after two years of dating, one year after they welcomed daughter Stormi in February 2018. While the two have never publicly confirmed if they were back together amidst news of baby number two, a source told HL in September that Kylie and Travis are “madly in love” after they sparked reconciliation speculation at a public event in June.

“Kylie and Travis have a great relationship. They’re together and madly in love, but it’s enigmatic,” the source said. “Travis and Kylie truly get along and have such respect for each other. They want the best for each other and for Stormi. Kylie has always wanted to expand her family as she loves being a mother, so she is super happy to be pregnant.”

google news
Continue Reading

Celebrities

Alec Baldwin Was Told Prop Gun Was Unloaded Before Fatal Shooting, New Docs Say

Published

on

alec baldwin

According to a search warrant document, Alec Baldwin was told that his prop gun was safe to use prior to the fatal shooting on the set of his western, ‘Rust.’

Alec Baldwin was told that his prop gun was unloaded prior to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set of his western film Rust, according to a search warrant document obtained by NBC News and other outlets. On the New Mexico film set moments later, the actor, 63, discharged the weapon, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Alec Baldwin (Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/Shutterstock)

According to the affidavit filed in a Santa Fe court, the assistant director who handed Alec the prop gun was also unaware that it was loaded, yelling “cold gun” — an indicator that the weapon had no live rounds — prior to it being discharged. The prop gun was one of three that had been set up for filming, the document stated.

The tragic accident occurred on October 21 on location at the Bonanza Creek Ranch. Hutchins was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital by helicopter, but succumbed to her injuries. She was 42. Souza was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for his injuries, and has since been released. A day after the incident, Alec took to Twitter to address the tragedy, revealing that he was fully cooperating with the investigation.

halyna hutchins
Halyna Hutchins (James Gourley/Variety/Shutterstock)

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” the actor wrote. “I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

The set incident has since sparked renewed interest in the late actor Brandon Lee, son of martial arts icon Bruce Lee, who died in the same fashion in 1993 at the age of 28. While filming the 1994 movie The Crow, the actor was fatally shot by a loaded prop gun. The latest incident on Rust has since renewed conversations about the use of prop guns on sets.

With Lee’s name trending on Twitter following the accident, his family issued a statement to express their condolences to those affected. “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust,’” the message read. “No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”

google news
Continue Reading

Trending