Pedro Almodóvar’s “Julieta”
Pedro Almodóvar never made a film I didn’t like. Lauded by Hollywood, he was nominated twice as director and writer for Hable con ella (Talk to Her) and winning for Best Original Screenplay. The Spanish director has never made the move to studio films. Almodóvar always seems to know the best place to put the camera and his scripts give the impression of being honed to perfection.
Some of his films are huge crossover hits like 1988’s Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. More than likely, his tremendous output satisfies more sophisticated viewers of art house and indie fare while falling on deaf ears to the average filmgoer. Such is the case with his latest effort Julieta.
In what wouldn’t be out of place in an Ingmar Bergman film, a female character in crisis is played by two women, one young and impetuous (Adriana Ugarte) and the other older and yet perhaps not any closer to her goals (Emma Suárez). Both versions of Julieta however have impeccable taste in style and education. The architecture of the film’s design recalls the sensory 1950s films of Douglas Sirk and the score by Alberto Iglesia dominates the proceedings. Another actress who was a common player in earlier Almodóvar films, Rossy de Palma, appears in a supporting role.
Almodóvar starts with the young Julieta charting her course with a career in academia and falling for a handsome widower she meets on a train. Note the train ride is filled with superb imagery including snow and animals running alongside in the night.
By contrast the older Julieta returns to an apartment where she previously lived as she attempts to renew a relationship with her estranged daughter. Moody and insightful, this latest outing from Almodóvar will captivate his ardent fans and maybe serve as a gateway for newer admirers to his filmography.
Julieta opens exclusively this weekend at the downtown Sundance Cinemas Houston.