I have a digital subscription to AD Espana. I love the way it looks on my iPad mini. Each issue transports me to the Iberian peninsula. AD in Spain is much lighter on architecture and features primarily home design. I find myself ogling over ads for faucets and light switches. After Franco died Spain took modernism to new heights. Anything goes. You can’t put your finger on the style. It is all a mashup.
Pedro Almodóvar brings this to the big screen in dramatic fashion. The sets, the clothes, the interiors are 100 percent Spanish. “Parallel Mothers” is worth watching just to see Milena Smit in a new outfit for every scene. Of course Penelope Cruz is sensational. But the red toaster and the green oven and the paintings on the walls threaten to steal the show. We needed to watch it a second time so we could skip the subtitles and just look at it.
I loved “Pain and Glory” and was hoping Almodóvar would reach for something that human again. The relationship between and story around Janis and Ana, the Parallel Mothers, is beautiful and plenty for one movie. When Almodóvar piles the Franco horror show, the mass grave of Janis’s relatives, onto this movie, parallel movies, he only does disservice to a much weightier subject.
But that was about as close we’re going to get to Spain for a bit. After the movie we looked the Café Moderna where Ana worked and there was, on Google in street view.