'Parallel Mothers' Trailer: Pedro Almodóvar Reteams With Penelope Cruz For His Latest Maternal Drama, Hitting Theaters In December

Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar returns with a new drama following his 2019 Oscar-nominated Pain and Glory. He is reunited with two of his favorite muses, Penélope Cruz and Rossy de Palma, to bring audiences a powerful drama entitled Parallel Mothers (or Madres Paralelas).

Parallel Mothers Trailer

After starring in seven of his films dating back to 1997 with Live Flesh, Cruz returns to play a new character named Janis. Rossy de Palma, another long-time collaborator who starred in Law of Desire and Julieta, joins the cast. Milena Smit plays Ana in her sophomore feature film while Aitana Sánchez Gijón plays Teresa. Cruz, Smit, and Gijón play the three imperfect mothers while Israel Elejalde is the male character.

Almodóvar's style is immediately front and center with gorgeous symmetry shots and a story focused on motherhood and women. Cinematographer José Luis Alcaine returns with bright pops of color to counterbalance the intense emotions experienced by the film's characters. It's also interesting that there is no dialogue in this trailer which leaves so much to the facial expressions of each actor. The close-up shots and mischievous eye movements all relay a secretive tone and potential plot twists.

Back in 2020, The Film Stage announced that Parallel Mothers "follows two women who give birth on the same day and have parallel trajectories in life. Written specifically with Cruz in mind, the story will be set in Madrid and will explore the feminine world of new mothers, of mothers who are raising children in the first and second year."

IndieWire announced the official synopsis of Parallel Mothers below, courtesy of Venice:

"Two women, Janis and Ana, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and got pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn't regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant, and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which chance will undertake to develop and complicate in such a decisive way that it will change the lives of both."

Parallel Mothers is written and directed by Almodóvar himself and will be a Spanish-language film. There also appears to be a fresh glimpse into some of his favorite themes of femininity, motherhood, and family. In a casting announcement, the writer/director stated that with this film, he speaks "of the importance of ancestors and descendants. The inevitable presence of memory."Almodóvar continued, "there are many mothers in my filmography, the ones that are part of this story are very different."

Motherhood and Mayhem

Films centered around motherhood tend to gravitate towards mayhem and chaos with the female trying her hardest to keep her family together, to keep herself together. Honestly, they stress me out and I'm not even a mother. However, I appreciate the thematic elements that encompass motherhood and the ideals in which are associated with such a crucial role. Lately, films have been exploring the more turbulent side of motherhood and whether or not that is even desired. From Hereditary to Plan B and Pieces of a Woman, it seems like motherhood is on full display in all of its painful, traumatic, scary, and, yes, beautiful attributes.

It will be interesting to see how Almodóvar approaches these themes again in a new manner, especially since he is able to successfully capture female experiences — and frequently, the maternal experience — through films like All About My Mother and Volver. Rarely do you watch one of his films and complain about the male lens. He has solidified an understanding of the subjects and themes he enjoys capturing on-screen not matter what the genre.

Parallel Mothers is set to open this year's Venice Film Festival ahead of a release in Spain in September and a U.S. release on December 24 from Sony Pictures Classics.