Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
Straight from its Cannes Competition berth, Pedro Almodóvar’s new film elegantly elides three short stories by Alice Munro. Moving between past and present, he explores the emotional journey of his heroine as she embarks on a long and revealing letter to her estranged daughter – a letter filled with regret, guilt and love.
“When we first see the middle-aged Julieta, played by Emma Suárez, she’s dressed head to toe in bright red, and in Almodóvar’s impeccably designed, colour-coordinated world, that means something. When we first see her younger self, played by Adriana Ugarte, she’s decked out all in bright blue, and the film is a steady cataloguing of how blue became red, of the ways in which the one woman transformed into the other and learned to accept the hurt of the world. (The striking switch from the younger to the older actress actually comes right in the middle of a scene, and it’s beautifully, heartbreakingly well done.)
Guilt seems to run Julieta’s life, and it infects those around her as well. These women absorb guilt and responsibility for the men around them, often unfairly; they judge themselves for the corrosive, sometimes fatal decisions their men – husbands, fathers, boyfriends – wind up making. But like many Almodóvar films, the story bends toward unity and common ground.” — Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“His manipulation of time frames, his sly infusions of comedy and his flawless direction of his actors – all merge together with the dexterity of an artist who doesn’t need to wow us to earn our love.” — Justin Chang, LA Times