Pedro Almodóvar’s latest, Julieta, just premiered over here in Spain, and I could not wait to see it (no less because all movie theaters here sell beer.) But apparently I was one of few, as the film had the worst opening weekend attendance in decades for the Spanish director. Many suspect it has to do with the recent naming of Pedro and his brother and producer, Agustín, in the Panama Papers, which caused Pedro to cancel all promotional appearances just prior to the release, leaving the star actresses to meet the press on their own. No surprise, the news hit hard in a country barely recovering from an economic crisis and naming someone that is supposedly “for the people” in what is basically a tax evasion scheme. On the other hand, it has been well reported that Julieta premiered in half the amount of theaters than normal for an Almodóvar film, which leaves one wondering what Warner Bros. based that number on and why.
From those who did see Julieta initial reviews are mixed, as are my personal feelings about it. But critiques aside, in interviews with the director before the scandal, he claimed that his 20th feature is a new type of film for him, more serious, meaning zero camp, zero melodramatic tears. I beg to differ. While it is true that the film is lacking in comedic relief and outlandish characters, below are six ways in which the new Almodóvar is still the old Almodóvar.
For diehard fans, the film will be a pleasure to see. For the brothers Almodóvar, I can only hope they correct the damage that has been done and that they don’t even dare think about stopping making films. As for Julieta, only time will tell where it lands in the history of Spanish film.