women on the verge of a nervous breakdown

In this delicious screwball comedy, four women struggle with sex, unfaithful men, police, and terrorists. Pepa, a popular television star, is ending a relationship with a suave but philandering co-star–the catch is, she’s pregnant. Add to this problem the fact that her best friend has mistakenly been harbouring Shiite terrorists, and confusion ensues. True to form in this Almodovar film, women who may start out as rivals (for example Pepa and her lover’s insane wife) end up helping each other to a relatively happy ending. It’s the ridiculous details–like the fully equipped cabbie–that make this film a treat. [spain, 1988]

volver

Almodovar does it again. This tour de force stars Penelope Cruz as a mother fighting for her daughter, while battling demons from her own past, including infidelity, incest, and a mother seemlingly back from the dead and living with her sister. With allusions to Two Women, this is being hailed as Cruz’s best performance, but the ensemble cast and intricate plot twists, are also big stars. Like the best of Almodovar’s films, this one features humor, pathos, drama, and supernatural events, all rolled up into one highly provocative and entertaining package. [spain, 2006]