Movie Information

In Brief: Perhaps Pedro Almodóvar's most viewer-friendly film, Volver is certainly the filmmaker's mellowest work. (All right, so it contains three murders, but, hey, they're understandable murders.) Clearly, Almodóvar was in a nostalgic frame of mind — possibly because the film marked the return of Carmen Maura to his roster of performers after 18 years — and it paid off with one of his sweetest movies.
Genre: Drama Comedy
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo
Rated: R

World Cinema takes another trip into the past with a return visit to Volver (2006). Frankly, I think the business of revisiting films is a very sound one. Audiences change, new viewers come, not everyone makes it to every film — and great films ought to be experienced more than once. I would call Volver a great film. Here’s part of my original review: “Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver (literally translated, “to return”) is a deceptive film — not just in its numerous shifts of tone and casual dramatic sleights of hand, but also in its lightness of tone. When placed against Almodóvar’s more recent works — All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002) and Bad Education (2004) — Volver seems a relatively slight work. Even though it’s in typical Almodóvar form — that’s to say its plot stays within the supercharged soap opera concept — and it contains three more or less justifiable murders, Volver is a comparatively lighthearted work. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s lightweight. On the contrary, it explores themes and emotions as deep as any found in the filmmaker’s best work. It’s simply that the key is slightly different and the comedy a little less dark than usual. In the publicity material for the film, Almodovar reveals this was very deliberate: “It is a movie about the culture of death in my native region, La Mancha. My folks there live it in astonishing simplicity. The way in which the dead are still present in their lives, the richness and humanity of their rites makes it possible for the dead to never really die. Volver shatters all clichés of a dark Spain and shows a Spain that is as real as it is opposed. A white Spain, spontaneous, fun, fearless, fair and with solidarity.”

Full review: http://avl.mx/n6

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Volver Friday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District, upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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