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Volver (2006)—SpainVolver (2006)—Spain

In this complicated, absurdist and comedic saga by the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, five women from three generations negotiate the slings and arrows of life. Raimunda's (Penélope Cruz) husband Paco assaults her teenage daughter Paula, who in turn murders him with a kitchen knife. They stuff his body in a freezer. Raimunda's sister Sole lost her husband, and together they lost their parents in a fire, or so they wrongly believe. But then their mother Irene "reappears" from her deceased sister's house (volver, "to return") as what the villagers think is a spirit, but turns out to be the real flesh and blood person who wants to settle life's business with her two girls and their friend Agustina—whose mother had an affair with Irene's husband. Thus, one reviewer compared Volver to high brow soap opera. My wife and I loved it, but agreed that the many plot trajectories require a second viewing to understand and appreciate it all. In Spanish with English subtitles.

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