In his new film, the Spaniard Almodóvar once again addresses a topic for which he is known: the solidarity of women. But “Parallel Mothers” cannot match the power of his earlier works.
Berlin – With his sensitive melodramas, in which he often focuses on women, Pedro Almodóvar is an integral part of European cinema. Just think of “Volver – Returning” or the Oscar-winning work “All About My Mother”.
In his most recent film, the Spanish director once again focuses on women: “Parallel Mothers”, with Penélope Cruz in one of the leading roles, tells the story of two very different mothers whose lives are linked by fate.
Very different types of women
Cruz plays photographer Janis, a confident single woman in the middle of life. After a brief adventure with a man, she is pregnant and looking forward to becoming a single mother. Nine months later, in the hospital, she meets 17-year-old Ana, who is also pregnant. However, she is still very young and her own mother, a self-conflicting actress, is quite critical of everything.
Despite these differences, both women raise their daughters themselves and are absorbed in their new roles. But then Janis doubts whether her daughter is really hers. After all, the skin color is significantly darker than her own and that of the supposed father. She researches and finds out that young Ana was raped by a group of boys at school.
He stays on the surface
“Parallel Mothers” becomes more than a tribute to motherhood. It’s about the relationship between men and women, how difficult it can be as a woman to find your way in life and – typical for Almodóvar – the cohesion of women. As big and serious as these themes are, the director stays closer to the surface this time.
He only hints at a lot and ultimately wants to bring in too many aspects. Finally, a mass grave in Janis’ home village and Spain’s fascist history also play a role in all of this. Even if Almodóvar designed the pictures with the usual intensive colors and his work is visually pretty to look at – “Parallel Mothers” does not come close to the impact of his earlier works and their emotional power. dpa