The Parallel Mothers tragic accident and the consequences of humanity’s decision to face Pedro Almodóvar made memorable again.
Perhaps Pedro Almodóvar’s most spectacular writer signature is that he fills his films with soap opera twists, which, however, miraculously stays serious with him. Secret relationships, fatal coincidences, dramatic relationships characterize almost all of his works, on which stories of various genres and genres are built: family and romantic films, erotic dramas, comedies, crime stories, or even thrillers. The new work, Parallel Mothers (originally Madres Paralelas) belongs to the first group –
pure Almodóvar drama of the best kind.
While exaggerating, this Spanish director avoids kitsch by employing first-class actors, planning carefully and taking turns at the right points, while also preparing psychologically for the twists and turns of the story with a deep psychological sense. In the case of Parallel Mothers, once again, the wonderful Penélope Cruz and young Milena Smit are the protagonists, who, as the title suggests, are connected with having a single mother in a hospital and forging friendships that run at the same time. However, the event connects the fates of the two women better than expected, putting them in front of overlapping dramatic and mundane twists. All of this is perfectly summed up by a provocative movie poster: the milk dripping from a woman’s breast can even become a teardrop.
So Almodóvar again talks about women, including single mothers, the bonds and contradictions of motherhood, as she has done many times before, for example, in Corner of Needles, Everything About My Mother, or Volver. Deserves of its master, an atypical family forms in Parallel Mothers as well, a strange relationship – though not as much at the start of a director’s career or even as recently as The Skin I live in, where a much darker, more eccentric and bourgeois situation prevails. This new work has a more subdued and conservative tone, as does the most recent, Pain and Glory. However, it touches on matters of blood and family choice and the unpredictable transformation of human relationships: in Almodóvar, the boundaries of friendship, love, enmity, violence and love are always penetrated, and acts of gratuitousness are commonplace.
In Parallel Mothers, the mysteries of destiny and the human soul are the same;
both are unrecognizable, things just happen to the characters. This double grip holds back the actions of the characters, especially Janis (Penélope Cruz), who also has to deal with her conscience when she realizes a tragic accidental interaction and learns that the evolution of other people’s lives depends on what she starts with information. he has earned. The film is primarily a drama, with the movement of other characters developing in connection with it.
In a somewhat more unusual way, Parallel Mothers also has layers of history: Janis wants to excavate the mass grave where her kidnapped and murdered ancestors were buried during the Spanish Civil War. This thread, besides perhaps being more important to Spanish viewers, as it displays unspoken taboos, deficits, resonates well with recent and present events. War also wiped out a generation of humans, then Janis was raised alone by her mother and grandmother, and her companion, Anna, was present where her father had disappeared from her life.
The Parallel Mother of justice because not only for the past, but the present lack of a man,
culminating in an upbeat and balanced finish that is surprising and an uplifting final image. The film, which is usually harsh and filled with warm colors, is at the same time dramatic, full of surprises and tragic twists, yet convincing: this time Almodóvar talks about the power of the chosen relationship. All we need is perseverance and honesty, and we can triumph over all desires and horrors. There is a way out of the negative spiral of generations.
We saw the film at the 2021 Venice Film Festival.