Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Parallel Mothers’ to Open Venice Film Festival

78th annual edition of La Biennale runs Sept. 1-11

parallel mothers almodovar
Courtesy of El Deseo

“Parallel Mothers,” the next film from Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar that stars Penélope Cruz, will be the opening night film for 2021’s Venice Film Festival.

This year’s Venice, now in its 78th year, will run from September 1-11.

“I was born as a film director in 1983 in Venice,” Almodóvar said in a statement. “In the Mezzogiorno Mezzanotte section. 38 years later I am called to open the Festival. I cannot explain the joy and the honor, and how much this means to me without falling into complacency. I am very grateful to the Festival for this recognition and hope to be up to it”.

“Parallel Mothers” will play in the main competition at the festival. It will screen Wednesday, Sept. 1 in the Sala Grande at the Palazzo del Cinema on Venice’s opening night.

“Parallel Mothers,” or “Madres Paralelas,” is produced by El Deseo and was announced in April when Sony Pictures Classics acquired the rights to distribute the film in North America. Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute in Italy.

The film tells the story of two women, Janis and Ana, who 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 traumatized. 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, which chance will undertake to develop and complicate in such a decisive way that it will change the lives of both.

Also starring in “Parallel Mothers” alongside Cruz are Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Julieta Serrano and Rossy De Palma.

Almodóvar won the Career Golden Lion from Venice in 2019, and one of his first major films, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” won the screenplay prize from the festival in 1988 and also won the Best Actress prize for Cruz, another breakout from the film.

“I am grateful to Pedro Almodóvar for having given us the privilege of opening the film festival with his new movie, 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,” Venice’s festival director Alberto Barbera said in a statement. “This is a very welcome return to Venice in Competition for the recipient of our 2019 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, many years after the success of ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ the movie that marked his definitive triumph on the international scene”.

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