Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Parallel Mothers,’ starring Penelope Cruz, to Open Venice Film Festival

Pedro Almodóvar’s new film “Parallel Mothers,” starring Penelope Cruz, will open the upcoming Venice Film Festival in September.

Almodóvar’s hotly anticipated pic, which was shot during the pandemic, will world premiere on the Venice Lido in competition on September 1.

The film sees the Spanish auteur reuniting with Cruz, a frequent collaborator, most recently in Almodóvar’s 2019 “Pain and Glory” opposite Antonio Banderas. “Mothers” also stars former San Sebastián fest best actress winner Aitana Sánchez Gijón (“Volaverunt”) and newcomer Milena Smit (“No matarás”).

Almodóvar’ latest work centers on three mothers — portrayed by Cruz, Gijón and Smit — and expands his previous depictions of womanhood, by turning his focus on imperfect mothers, in a departure from his prior works exploring mothers and motherhood which include “All About My Mother” and “Pain and Glory.”

Sony Pictures Classics has rights for North America, Australia and New Zealand on the film which is produced by Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García through Almodóvar’s production company El Deseo.

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“I was born as a film director in 1983 in Venice…in the Mezzogiorno Mezzanotte section,” Almodóvar said in a statement. “Thirty-eight 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,” he added.

Said Barbera: “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.”

“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.”

As previously announced by fest organizers, “Dune,” Denis Villeneuve’s big-budget sci-fi epic starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, will play out of competition and David Gordon Green’s “Halloween Kills,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

Other titles believed to be locked in for a Lido launch comprise Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, and Paolo Sorrentino’s semi-autobiographical drama “The Hand of God,” both from Netflix, and also “Spencer,” Pablo Larraín’s highly anticipated drama starring Kristen Spencer as Lady Diana.

The 78th edition of Venice is scheduled to run Sept. 1-11 as a full-fledged physical event. Bong Joon-ho will preside over the main jury while Jamie Lee Curtis and Italian multiple Oscar winner Roberto Benigni (“Life Is Beautiful”) will be honored with lifetime achievement awards.

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