If Bad Education is about the dark side of Almodóvar's childhood, Volver revisits the light. We're back to films about women and family again. In an interview on the DVD, Almodóvar admits that for him, women symbolize "life" and "fun", a result of being raised in female company. The men of La Mancha (very macho apparently) did not deal with the kids or the household. So there's your reason for the slightly uncomfortable gendering present in many of Almodóvar's films.

But I can easily breeze past that. It doesn't matter that the family assembled here is female-only. The film is about more than that. Pedro reveals all in the roundtable discussion with his cast, also on the DVD. Volver ('return' -- it seems the Spanish word is simple enough for the international audience) is about justice. Qualification: human justice. Justice between people as opposed to (in Almodóvar's words) "institutional justice". You could also add to that justice meted out by the media -- there is a very pointed and bitter scene about a Jerry Springer-type TV show. These mediating bodies corrupt rather than heal (the early Marx would like this). Having buried bodies somewhere in your past, you should impose your own penalty, and pay it without regret.

No comments:

Post a Comment