Penelope Cruz as ‘Parallel Mother’: ‘It’s Like a Bite Bomb’

Oscar voters take their duties seriously, and there seem to be a few key criteria in voting: Is this piece emotionally honest, does it pop off the screen, and is it what it is? admired in the next 50 years?

Penelope Cruz under “Parallel Mothers” check all of those boxes. There’s no guarantee of an Oscar, but if there’s justice in the world, she’ll be nominated on Feb. 8. She takes the screen and invites comparisons with Bette Davis’ best work, Anna Magnani and Barbara Stanwyck, but very much like the original. .

Cruz plays photographer Janis, who becomes a single mother. As she hides the truth about her child, she is trying to uncover the truth of the serial murders that have been covered up since Francisco Franco’s regime.

She rehearsed with the writer-director Pedro Almodovar in four months. However, filming was difficult. “I couldn’t reveal any emotions in the first part, when Janis was lying and hiding her fear and suffering. As an actor it’s exhausting to live with this every day. ”

“Two months after that, the confession came and I knew I was going to explode and give Janis the release she needed. I was looking forward to that moment; it’s like a ticking bomb that I can’t take anymore. As an actress, I need that to happen, but at the same time I’m scared of the confession because I know it’s important to do it right.” The actress said that she was happy that they shot mostly in sequence.

This is her seventh film with Almodovar, and he is not only a friend but also a much-admired collaborator. “I think Pedro is one of the greatest directors we are working with today. His work is incredibly inspiring. He is our leader. He knew what movie he wanted to make,” she said. “That applies to every department. At the same time, he is always open to offers.”

Sometimes a role is under the actor’s skin and is difficult to shake. Living with Janis’ pain and deception has come at a heavy cost.

“I try not to bring that energy home because I’m a mother of two,” says Cruz. “Sometimes I have to stay at work for an extra 30 minutes, cry in the hallway, to go home without all the panic and fear inside of me. And then come back the next day to start it all over, to be 100 percent done on set. ”

But Cruz always knew it was a fiction, while women in the real world constantly faced such difficulties. “I tried to honor the women in that situation who face any loss – or threat of loss – in relation to their children. It’s my fuel every day. ”

Franco died in 1975, but the damage of his 36-year regime still lingers. “Parallel Mothers” represents Janis’s attempt to restore justice.

“I know families who have had experiences like this, and they have secrets and are afraid to talk about it,” Cruz said. It’s great that Pedro keeps both things in his script, my character’s moral conflict and the way she wants to inspire truth, but at the same time she lies about the most important thing, which is her daughter. She has no mother, no father; She grew up wondering if she didn’t deserve a family. Janis’ message is also Pedro’s message: It’s not about revenge, it’s about human rights.”

When the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Diversity Critic Owen Gleiberman said Cruz “makes you breathless”. She won the title of best actress at the festival.

Saying it was her best performance, she humbly replied: “I would say it was the most challenging, the hardest. Janis had to often hide her feelings. That is completely against my nature. But I am satisfied with the results. I was part of the puzzle and so grateful to be a part of it.”

She added, “I like to think the drama is great so I hope people watch it. It was filmed in Spanish. I want to encourage people to watch more foreign films.”

That’s an important point, especially in the US, where Americans are often stressed about movies in other languages ​​and consider reading subtitles as homework. That is often true of Academy voters.

Here is a small sample of forgettable actors who have never been nominated for an Oscar: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Gong Li, Giulietta Masina, Toshiro Mifune, Jeanne Moreau, and Ingrid Thulin.

Some of the best actors who have been nominated in films with subtitles have yet to win: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, Marcello Mastroianni, Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow and Steven Yeun.

Oscar voters are not obligated to vote for Penelope Cruz, but they are reminded: 50 years from now, her work will be remembered. So make sure you see it.

https://variety.com/2022/awards/awards/penelope-cruz-pedro-almodovar-parallel-mothers-1235163569/ Penelope Cruz as ‘Parallel Mother’: ‘It’s Like a Bite Bomb’

Olly Dawes

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