By Alberto Cano.- There is no doubt that Pedro Almodovar He is one of the most prestigious filmmakers in the world. Throughout 22 films, the La Mancha director has consolidated a career full of awards, accolades and stories that have marked viewers from all over the world, from the most intimate and personal dramas to the wildest comedies. But among all the virtues that his cinema brings together, Perhaps the direction of actresses and actors is the skill that has made their stories stand out the most. There is no film in which one does not remember some emotion, expression or line of dialogue of his always diverse roster of characters, since Almodóvar knows how to delve into his interpreters like no other and get the best out of them. There are many examples in his filmography, but a very representative one is undoubtedly that of Penelope Cruz. And there is more to see the case of his recent performance in Parallel mothers.
From the beginning of her career, Penelope Cruz has established herself as a star of our cinema thanks to titles such as Ham Ham by Bigas Luna, Belle epoque by Fernando Trueba or Todo es lie by Álvaro Fernández Armero, although his consecration would come at the end of the 90s by the hand of directors such as Alejandro Amenábar or Pedro Almodóvar, especially the latter. Their first job together was in 1996 in Tremulous Flesh, where Cruz played a minor character accompanying interpreters such as Javier Bardem, Francesca Neri, Liberto Rabal or Ángela Molina, although The work with which Almodóvar began to bring out the best actress was undoubtedly in his praised All About My Mother.
Her endearing performance as Sister Rosa, that innocent pregnant nun who must cope with HIV, captivated and moved us as much as Cecilia Roth under the skin of that shattered mother trying to alleviate the death of her son. So much that in Hollywood, where he had already started working on productions such as Broken passionsby Nick Hamm or Hi-Lo Country by Stephen Frears, they did not overlook his figure. And much less after the success and awards that Everything about my mother harvested for American lands. There was thus an international boost in her career that led her to star in films such as Woman on Top, All the beautiful horses, Captain Corelli’s mandolin, Blow, Ghotika, Woman Games or Vanilla Sky, the remake of Abre los ojos where he played the same character as in Alejandro Amenábar’s acclaimed film. Thus, he began to work with renowned actors and actresses such as Matt Damon, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron or Robert Downey Jr and directors such as John Madden or Cameron Crowe, although it would be Almodóvar again who would give a new impetus to his career.
It was in 2006, the year in which the manchego once again had Penélope Cruz to star Return playing Raimunda, that woman from La Mancha who was reunited with her mother after years believing that she died in a fire. Anyone who has seen the film will remember how emotional, natural, overwhelming and spontaneous Penelope was in this role, showing herself as capable of making you smile as of making you cry with pure emotion. Such performance was undoubtedly one of the best of that year, which added to the prestige that Almodóvar’s cinema brings behind it led her to obtain her first Oscar nomination. At that time the award went to Helen Mirren for The Queen, but the Hollywood Academy did not take its eyes off Penelope, who was finally awarded in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen.
Since then, Penelope has remained very present in major Hollywood blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean, European productions such as To be born again, Spanish movies like The queen of Spainby Fernando Trueba, mother by Julio Medem or Loving Pablo by Fernando León de Aranoa or in films by renowned American filmmakers such as Ridley Scott, Woody Allen or Rob Marshall, as was the case The counselor, To Rome with love or Nine, for which he got his third Oscar nomination. Although I think no one has managed to get the best of it like Almodóvar, as was well seen again in Broken Embraces, Pain and glory and in the recent Parallel mothers. Especially this last one.
And it is that Penelope develops like few actresses within the most intimate roles. emotional and picturesque like those offered by Pedro Almodóvar’s cinema. And when both of them already have full confidence after so many years working together and they know each other better than anyone, this surfaces on the screen and leaves us with interpretations worked out to the smallest detail.. And I think that this evolution and growth throughout their joint work has been clearly seen throughout this trajectory, I have been commenting on. Therefore, it is not surprising that when Parallel mothers the actress has dared with a role that required precision and dramatic talent like few others.
It is about the role of Janis, a middle-aged single mother who is joined to a young teenager after coinciding in the hospital to give birth to her daughters. The development of Parallel mothersIt leads to an erroneous exchange of the babies, the death of one of them and the internal conflict of Penelope’s character whether or not to tell the truth to the young woman with whom she has shared so much connection thanks to her motherhood. It is in this conflict where the actress brings out the best of herself, where under a story and a character that could easily have fallen into the soap opera and grotesque she carries emotion and drama with immense restraint, holding back the tears and the pain while transmitting with only his expression and voice the harshness of his internal grief without actually exploding emotionally. It is impressive to feel the severity and sadness of the situation with just one look from him. And I don’t think Penelope Cruz had ever captivated me in such a way with a performance.
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At the moment, this work has already been recognized by the Venice Film Festival, where she became the Best Actress of the contest after winning the Volpi Cup, although she aims to go much further. Media such as Variety place it again as a firm candidate for the Oscar for Best Actress for the next 2022, an option not at all crazy considering his immense work in Parallel Mothers, the affection they have for his figure and work in Hollywood and the repercussion that Pedro Almodóvar’s films always have. Of course, it would be much more than deserved, because after enjoying his enormous work in this latest film from La Mancha, I am very clear that it is his best work. And as I say, achieved thanks to this close trust that he has with Almodóvar and his great ability to investigate his interpreters like no other. If you want to check it out, Parallel mothers It is already available in theaters since last October 8.
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