Pedro Almodovar’s Madres paralelas (Parallel Mothers), starring Penelope Cruz, will open the 78th Venice International Film Festival in September.
The film, about two single and pregnant women stars Cruz along with Milena Smit and Israel Elejalde, and will debut as part of the competition slate on September 1.
“I cannot explain the joy and the honour, and how much this means to me without falling into complacency,” Almodovar said. “I am very grateful to the festival for this recognition and hope to be up to it”.
The acclaimed filmmaker has a long history with the world's oldest film festival and said that he was “born as a film director in 1983 in Venice.” He was given the festival’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2019.
Festival director Alberto Barbera said the film is “an intense and sensitive portrait of two women as they contend with a pregnancy with unpredictable consequences, women’s solidarity, and sexuality that is experienced in full freedom and without hypocrisy, all against the backdrop of a reflection on the ineluctable need for truth that is to be unwaveringly pursued.”
Cruz and the Almodovar are frequent collaborators, most recently on his 2019 film Pain and Glory, also starring Antonio Banderas. The film won Banderas the Best Actor prize at the Cannes film festival and earned Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best International Feature Film
Parallel Mothers, which was shot during the pandemic, centres on three mothers.
"Janis and Ana meet in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and got pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant, and traumatised. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two," reads a synopsis of the film.
The Venice International Film Festival is scheduled to run from Wednesday, September 1 to Saturday, September 11 on the sleepy beach island Lido.
The festival will also host the premiere of Denis Villeneuve’s anticipated adaptation of Dune, starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, as well as David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills in conjunction with Lifetime Achievement awards for its star Jamie Lee Curtis and Italian four-time Oscar winner Roberto Benigni.