Lost at sea
by David Lamble
In queer Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's latest treat Julieta, our heroine (Emma Suarez) is sharing a Madrid flat with her boyfriend. The couple is about to move to Portugal when by pure chance, Julieta reconnects with the best friend of her long-absent adult daughter, Anita. Heartbroken that her child, now married and living in Switzerland with three kids, has not been in touch for 12 years, Julieta cancels her trip and returns to her old apartment, hoping that Anita will know where to find her. Julieta starts writing a memoir revisiting the angst of her teen years. She recalls her first lover, a fisherman from Galicia. A fatal accident changes their life.
Almodovar has spent his career switching between male- and female-driven stories. Here he keeps us hooked on a tale of a woman who desperately wishes to reconnect with her daughter, who blames her for the death of their husband/dad lost at sea following an argument. This is not my favorite Almodovar 21-century work – that remains the male-oriented Bad Education – but I'm grateful one of the film world's high-wire acts continues to produce at such a fantastic level. Here's hoping the next one will be dedicated to his rude-boy adventures.
Paterson American indie darling Jim Jarmusch, whose 1984 breakout B&W feature Stranger than Paradise opened the Opera Plaza mini-cinemas, returns in top form with a nifty little tale about a handsome poet/bus driver (very low-key Adam Driver). It's rare when such an entertaining comedy-drama pivots on the beat of "The dog ate my poetry."