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2016 Cannes Critics’ Panel Day 7: Pedro Almodovar Soaks in Silence with “Julieta”

Hovering around the twenty film mark, you might have thought that this Madrilenian’s entire filmography was displayed on the Croisette, when in fact, excluding his excellent turn as a producer for Wild Tales, he has only presented a half dozen items. Winner for Best Director (1999’s All About My Mother) and Best Screenplay (2002’s Volver), Pedro Almodóvar has also presented Bad Education (2004 – Out of Comp), Broken Embraces (2009) and The Skin I Live In — a film that scored the highest on our inaugural Cannes Critics Panel (in 2011) and went home empty-handed by the selected Cannes jury. Judging by our Cannes Critics Panel, a Palme d’Or for Julieta might be out if the Cannes jury resembles our own with notes ranging from excellent to average.

Based on the three short stories, from the book Runaway (2004) by Alice Munro, Julieta lives in Madrid and has just lost her husband Xoan. Her daughter, Antía, has just turned 18 and decides to run away without any explanation. Julieta searches by all means to find her, but the only thing she discovers is how little she knows her daughter. Despite great perfs, Emma Suarez and Adriana Ugarte are underserved, according to Indiewire’s Eric Kohn Pedro’s “unassuming approach doesn’t give them a whole lot to do in this surprisingly conventional movie,” and Variety’s Peter Debruge taps into the source material as potentially being at odds with the filmmaker’s style: “to the extent that Almodovar’s films are a bold expression of his personal taste, Munro seems an odd source of worship. In many ways, her sensitivity is the antithesis of the director’s flamboyance, and one really ought to go back and read her three stories (especially “Silence,” which explains so much missing from the movie’s final act) to answer the mystery behind the mystery — fleshing out what Almodovar admired, but only partly managed to capture.”

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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