RENOIR SUN 13 AUG
WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS (18)
Director: Pedro Almodovar. Starring: Carmen Maura, Luis Hostalot, Ryo Hiruma. Spain 1984. 101mins.
Typical Almodóvar: a melodrama about an overworked housewife, hooked on amphetamines in order to cook and clean the house, her male chauvinistic husband who, when not driving his taxi, works on a plot to forge Hitler’s memoirs, her mother-in-law, and her one son, who deals heroin for a living, and her other who is adopted out to a lecherous dentist.
RENOIR SUN 20 AUG
DARK HABITS (15)
Director: Pedro Almodovar. Starring: Cristina Sánchez Pascual, Will More, Laura Cepeda. Spain 1983. 114mins.
Yolanda (Pascual), a junkie and nightclub singer, runs to a convent to escape a murder rap, where the freewheeling nuns favour things such as LSD and soft-core porn in their attempt to save her soul.
MAYFAIR SUN 27 AUG
ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (15)
Written and Directed by: Pedro Almodvar. Starring: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Peña, Antonia San Juan, Penélope Cruz, Rosa Maria Sarda. 1999, 101mins.
A single mother in Madrid sees her only son die on his 17th birthday as he runs to seek an actress’s autograph. She goes to Barcelona to find the lad’s father, a transvestite named Lola who does not know he has a child. First she finds her friend, Agrado, also a transvestite; through him she meets Rosa, a young nun bound for El Salvador, and by happenstance, becomes the personal assistant of Huma Rojo, the actress her son admired. She helps Huma manage Nina, the co-star and Huma’s lover, and she becomes Rosa’s caretaker during a dicey pregnancy. With echoes of Lorca, “All About Eve,” and “Streetcar Named Desire,” the mothers (and fathers and actors) live out grief, love, and friendship.
TALK TO HER (15)
written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, and Rosario Flores. 2002. 113mins.
Benigno and Marco nearly cross paths when they both attend the same dance performance, only to eventually meet some time later at a private clinic where Benigno works. There he is the personal nurse and caregiver of Alicia, a beautiful dance student who lies in a coma and with whom Benigno has become obsessed. Marco is at the clinic to visit his girlfriend Lidia, a famous matador who is also comatose after being gored by a bull. As the men stand vigil over these women, the story unfolds in a flashback and flashforward motif, telling the lives of the four with respect to their relationships. Marco leaves Lidia when her previous lover informs him of their reunion, whereas Benigno, believing his obsession to be love, rapes Alicia and is ultimately sent to prison when she becomes pregnant and the staff discover the truth. The baby dies, but Alicia wakes up, only to eventually connect with Marco at a dance performance.
RENOIR SUN 3 SEPT
Director: Pedro Almodovar. Starring: Assumpta Serna, Antonio Banderas, Nacho Martínez. Spain 1987. 106mins.
A retired matador gets turned on by killing, a lawyer shares the same fetish and a young man is going insane by his extreme religious upbringing: these are the main characters in Almodovar’s deliciously stylish black comedy.
And of course, from the 25th of August…
A brilliant synthesis of love story, melodrama, ghost story and thriller, VOLVER stands as a towering achievement even amongst Almodóvar’s superb canon of work. Calling VOLVER “the deepest return to my roots”, Almodóvar goes back to his birthplace, La Mancha, to tell the story of a group of women, all inspired by women from his own childhood. Three generations of women survive fire, insanity and even death by means of goodness, lies and boundless vitality. They are Raimunda (Cruz), married with a teenage daughter, Sole (Dueñas), her sister, and the mother of both (Maura), who died in a fire but who appears before Sole. Visually sumptuous, the performances are equally strong; Cruz delivers arguably her strongest showing yet.