03 November 2006

I Finally Saw Volver

Just got back from seeing Volver.

It's a well crafted, well acted, very melodramatic picture.

To call it a 'women's picture' wouldn't be an insult, and shouldn't scare any men away from seeing it.

Penelope Cruz is a fantastic actress in Spanish, in English . . . not so much.

She deserves serious consideration for her performance come awards time, as does Carmen Maura in a pitch perfect supporting role.

You are unlikely to see better performances this year from any other actors in any other language.

Not to slight all the other actresses who enliven this tale, they're all excellent, but Carmen and Penelope really stand out.

Pedro Almodovar is one of the best directors around, and he's in his prime, even if he seems to return to the same themes over and over again.

As far as the picture, there's really nothing I can say beyond all the positive reviews (shockingly, at least to me, this film has an even better percentage of good reviews) that would convince you to see this if you weren't already convinced, so I won't try.

But, one thing that puzzles me, this film deserves a wider release. In the United States we have a plethora of native Spanish speakers, and their first generation offspring, who would eat this stuff up with a spoon if it was sold to them the right way. The Spanish speaking community in the United States is large enough, wealthy enough, and diverse enough to support a few quality "art house" movies each year. That companies like Sony Picture Classics don't figure out a way to sell these kinds of pictures to those kinds of folks is incomprehensible to me.

Possibly they are doing the NYC/LA thing until they get their expected nominations, then they'll give it a wider release hoping the awards buzz will expand the market.

If it seems at all intriguing to you, then go see it when it hits your town, and even if it looks like the kind of soapy mush you can't stand, don't let that stop you, this film transcends the genre that gave it birth.

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