Volver (15)



Drama (2006)
121mins Sp

Starring: Penelope Cruz, Lola Duenas, Carmen Maura
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Raimunda and Sole struggle to contend with the death of their beloved Aunt Paula and the accidental killing of Raimunda's husband Paco. While Raimunda hides Paco's body in a deep freezer, Sole attends Paula's funeral and is shocked when she learns that the locals have glimpsed the ghost of their dead mother, Irene. At first, Sole dismisses these sightings as fantasy, but when she returns to Madrid, Sole is shocked to discover the ghost of Irene has followed her home, intent on healing old wounds with her daughters.

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Click here to read the interview of Penelope Cruz (Raimunda)
Click here to read the interview of Pedro Almodovar (Director)
Click here to watch the trailer

Volver

Volver. Raimunda and her neighbour Regina. Photo: Emilio Pereda & Paola Ardizzoni/ El Deseo. Copyright: PatheMadrid. Today. Raimunda is a young mother, hard working and very attractive, with an unemployed husband and a daughter in mid-adolescence. The family finances are very shaky, so Raimunda has got several jobs. She is a very strong woman, a born fighter, but also very fragile emotionally. She has kept a terrible secret to herself since childhood.

Her sister Sole is a little older. Timid and fearful, she makes her living running an illegal hair salon. Her husband left her and went off with a client. Since then she has lived on her own.

Paula is their aunt. She lives in a village in La Mancha where the whole family was born. A village swept by the east wind, the direct cause of the high rate of insanity registered there. That damn wind is responsible for the many fires that devastate the area every summer. The parents of Sole and Raimunda died in one of those fires.

A Sunday in spring, Sole calls Raimunda to tell her that Agustina (a neighbour in the village) has phoned to tell her that their Aunt Paula has died. Raimunda adored her aunt, but she can't go to the funeral because moments before getting the call from her sister, she returned from one of her jobs to find her husband dead in the kitchen, with a knife stuck in his chest. Her daughter confesses that she killed him because he had got drunk and kept making sexual advances towards her.

The most important thing for Raimunda is to save her daughter. She still doesn't know how, but what she certainly can't do is accompany Sole to their aunt's funeral in La Mancha.

Sole reluctantly goes back to the village on her own. During the wake she hears rumours that her mother (who died in a fire with her father) came back from the other world to look after Aunt Paula in her final years, when she was ill. The neighbours talk quite naturally about the mother's "ghost".

When Sole returns to Madrid, after parking her car, she hears noises coming from the trunk. A voice calls to her to open it and let her out, and says that she's her mother.

Sole is terrified at first. The knocking from the inside of the trunk continues. Sole opens it and discovers the ghost of her mother in there, surrounded by bags. She doesn't dare even look at her, but when she manages to overcome her fear she sees that the ghost is just as her mother was in life, except that her hair is almost white and unkempt and her skin is paler. She brings her upstairs to her apartment, and asks her how long she is going to stay. For as long as God wills, the ghost answers. Given the range of that reply, Sole has got no choice but to live with her mother's ghost and let her get involved in the work in the hair salon. She introduces her to the first clients as a Russian beggar she met on the street and took in out of charity. When there are clients, the mother doesn't speak, she just washes their hair and smiles.

Sole doesn't dare tell her sister about the situation she's in. For her part, Raimunda only tells her that Paco, her husband, has left her and that she has a feeling he won't be back. Really, she is trying to get rid of his body, but she can't find the right moment because she has got a new job that pays well and also offers a possible solution to her pressing problem… (what to do with the body).

The untenable becomes routine. Each of the two sisters takes a leap in the dark, surviving situations that are very tense, melodramatic, comic and also very emotional. Both women resolve them with audacity and by telling endless lies.

"Volver" is a story of survival. All the characters are fighting to survive, even the grandmother's ghost.

The grandmother's ghost tells Sole that she wants to see her daughter Raimunda, and her granddaughter. She has to talk to Raimunda. In fact, that conversation is the reason she has come back from the other world… and that supernatural urgency has to do with the secret that Raimunda has hidden since she was a child. She doesn't tell Sole this.

But Raimunda is a very strong character, she isn't as soft as Sole and she doesn't believe in ghosts, not even when she finds her mother hiding under the bed, in Sole's house…

All this is just the beginning of a story that is complex and simple, touching and atrocious, one that affects the women in Raimunda's family, the neighbouring women and a few men.

Click here to read the interview of Penelope Cruz (Raimunda)
Click here to read the interview of Pedro Almodovar (Director)
Click here to watch the trailer

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