Pedro Almodóvar’s 20th feature film premiered in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2016. Adapted from three, interrelated short stories by Nobel prize winner Alice Munro (‘Chance’, ‘Soon’ and ‘Silence’), Julieta is the story of a teacher played by Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte and adult and young Julieta respectively (a recognisable homage to That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) by Luis Buñuel).
After the death of her husband, Julieta tries to find her daughter who inexplicably ran away from home aged 18. Julieta writes her a long letter trying to explain family and personal secrets, and attempting to figure out destiny, guilt and the unfathomable mystery that leads some people to abandon those they love.
Echoes of Sirk, Bergman and Kieślowski resonate throughout this quintessentially Almodóvarian melodrama of loss and broken motherhood, painted in primary colours. Almodóvar’s original idea was to write the film in English and shoot in New York; he offered the leading role of Julieta to Meryl Streep before realising that he felt much more comfortable writing and shooting in Spanish.
Almodóvar regulars Darío Grandinetti (Talk to Her) and Rossy de Palma (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Broken Embraces) also appear.