Argentine directing duo Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn brings together two of Spain’s most famous actors: Penelope Cruz (Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner for Woody Allen’s Vicki Cristina Barcelona), plays indie darling director Lola Cuevas; Pedro Almodovar’s ‘male muse’, Antonio Banderas (Cannes Best Actor winner for Pain and Glory) the film star Felix Rivero.
While both achieved domestic fame working with Almodovar before going on to mainstream Hollywood success, this film (made during the first Covid lockdown in 2020) is their first as co-stars.
Banderas, playing a vain hearthrob, sends himself up enthusiastically (he won several ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ awards twenty years ago); as does Argentine actor Oscar Martinez who, like his character Ivan Torres, is highly respected for his theatre work. Cohn explains that “we wanted them to perform a drama. In all of our movies we ask our actors to refrain from being comical, no matter how comical the situation may be”.
“Feels like an old-school screwball comedy, albeit one with very dark edges. It helps that all three of the main players have both the comic and dramatic skill to handle the film’s quicksilver transitions in tone. All three deserve plaudits, as does that wig of Cruz’s, which is a star in its own right” Leslie Felperin, Financial Times
“You watch Cruz, not long after her agonised performance in ‘Parallel Mothers’, and you wonder, ‘Is there any actress, since the prime of Sophia Loren, in whom the tragic instinct runs so unnervingly close to the spirit of fun?‘” Anthony Lane, New Yorker