All That Melodrama Allows
Julieta 15 (S)
Pedro Almodóvar, one of cinema's great auteurs, returned to his roots with his latest feature, an elegant and flawless female focussed melodrama about love and loss.
Adapted from three short stories from the Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author Alice Munro (published online here by the New Yorker), the story follows Julieta, a Spanish classics teacher (played by Adriana Ugarte in the character's youth, then Emma Suarez in middle age) as she falls in love, has a child, and struggles to find redemption. We see Julieta, in 1985, on a train trip that leads to a death and introduces her to her future husband, then see the pair raise a daughter – only to then lose her. But then in 2015, when news about her daughter’s fate reaches her, can she learn a little more about her anger, and reunite?
Almodóvar admirers are in for a treat: his familiar use of blood red, the mournful jazzy score, the gorgeous cinematography, designs and costumes are all sumptuous. He keeps you guessing right until the last reel - where there's a revelation that changes everything - and leaves you with a lingering reminder to not hold on to those we most hold dear.
Check out our June Podcast to hear our cinema curator Mark Cosgrove and film writer Tara Judah make the case for melodrama; and explore its heightened tension, searing emotions and progressive female characters.