Pedro Almodovar is a film genius! No, he’s just a genius who happens to apply his brilliance in films. His genius is manifested in Julieta, arguably his best work so far.
Influenced by the Masters
Pedro Almodovar, one of the best Spanish directors of our time, has clearly been influenced by the old masters. In Julieta, his clear influences ranged from Douglas Sirk to Alfred Hitchcock, a combination that makes the film imbued with real artistry.
But Almodovar isn’t a lap dog of the old masters either. He’s his own master, a fact that becomes evident with each of his movies.
Julieta, a 2016 film, is his baby – he wrote and directed it, a dual role that means he’s in full control over his own work. His screenplay is based on three short stories from Alice Munro’s book, Runaway.
He has such a way with actors, too, that the two actresses who played the younger and older versions of Julieta have an uncanny resemblance. We’re not just talking about the faces but, more importantly, their mannerisms and behaviors. We can’t peg it down to just the makeup, too.
What makes Julieta, Almodovar’s 20th feature film, such a must-see? Almodovar not only exercises complete control over his artwork on the big screen. His productions evoke the lushness of classic Hollywood and happen in a fantast fictional realm. His work is unlike any other, both among the mainstream and indie film directors.
A Story About Women
Almodovar loves to tell stories about women – “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” are just a few of the best examples. While the narrative premise appears simple, the emotions underneath it are as complex as the woman and her story.
Julieta, a middle-class, middle-aged woman with a striking beauty, plans to take a vacation with her boyfriend to Portugal. But it’s a vacation that isn’t meant to be. While she lives an apparently happy life, she carries the deep pain of her estrangement from her daughter.
She learns from a friend that her estranged daughter lives in Lake Como with her own family. She falls into a depression and starts remembering the painful past.
Julieta carries within her heart the tormented guilt of lives and loves lost from her past. Her guilt takes on other forms as the years go by but it’s something that she has difficulty shedding despite the happy life she has carved for herself.
What happened in the past? You have to see the movie at an AMC theater to find out. You, too, will likely agree that Julieta may be Almodovar’s greatest work yet.