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 Pedro Almodovar reuniting with Penelope Cruz, 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.”

“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,” he added.

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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