Two women coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and became pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in those hours will create a very close link between the two, which by chance develops and becomes complicated, changing their lives in a decisive way.

Director's Statement

The film begins with a photo session. Janis (Penélope Cruz) is a photographer and she is doing a portrait of Arturo Buendía (Israel Elejalde), a forensic anthropologist. Arturo becomes Janis’ lover. Without intending to, Janis gets pregnant, but Arturo is married. Janis frees him of all responsibility, she will take care of the baby. Janis faces her future maternity on her own. She always wanted to be a mother and she isn’t willing to let the opportunity slip by. Her grandmother was her only family and Janis feels the need to be a mother, to create a family. In the hospital where she is going to give birth, she coincides with Ana (Milena Smit), a teenager scared and traumatized by her imminent maternity. They will both be single mothers and they both got pregnant by accident. When Janis tells her that she doesn’t regret it, Ana confesses to her that she does. Janis is the vocational mother and Ana is the accidental mother. Ana's mother, Teresa (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) shows up at the hospital. She is the imperfect mother, lacking in maternal instinct, who didn’t hesitate in handing Ana over to her father when they separated. In her way, Ana has felt more of an orphan than Janis always did. Both give birth at the same time to two girls who hours later are in observation because of unimportant issues. Meanwhile, exhausted, the new mothers talk in Janis’ room. The experience has changed Ana radically, the little time she had with her new-born child has erased any fear or uncertainty she felt before the birth. All these elements belong to the melodrama genre, but I decided that PARALLEL MOTHERS would be a tense, restrained drama, difficult to act, and with a protagonist who perhaps is not a model of behavior but who attracted me precisely for that.

Director's Biography

Pedro Almodóvar was born in the heart of La Mancha in the 50s. At seventeen, he left home and moved to Madrid, with no money and no job, but with a very specific project in mind: to study cinema and direct films. It was impossible to enrol in the Official Film School because Franco had just closed it. Despite the dictatorship that was suffocating the country, for an adolescent from the provinces Madrid represented culture, independence and freedom.
He worked at many sporadic jobs, but he couldn’t buy his first Super-8mm camera until he got a “serious” job at the National Telephone Company of Spain in 1971. He worked there for twelve years as an administrative assistant. In the mornings, his job gave him an in-depth knowledge of the Spanish middle class at the start of the consumer era, with its dramas and its misfortunes, a real gold mine for a future storyteller. In the evenings, he wrote, loved, acted with the mythical independent theatre group Los Goliardos, made films in Super-8, collaborated with various underground magazines and he was a member of a parody punk-rock group, "Almodóvar & McNamara". He had the good fortune that his personal explosion coincided with the explosion of the democratic Madrid of the last seventies, early eighties. That was the period the world knew as la Movida.
After a year and a half of eventful shooting on 16mm, in 1980 he opened PEPI, LUCI, BOM, a no-budget film made as a cooperative effort with the rest of the crew and the cast, all beginners, except for Carmen Maura.
In 1986, he founded the production company El Deseo with his brother Agustín. Their first project was LAW OF DESIRE. Since then, they have produced all the films that Pedro has written and directed, they have also produced other young directors.

2021 - PARALLEL MOTHERS, Feature

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar

Written by: Pedro Almodóvar

Produced by: Agustín Almodóvar

Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine

Editing: Teresa Font

Production Design: Antxon Gómez

Costume Design: Paola Torres

Make-Up & Hair: Pablo Iglesias

Original Score: Alberto Iglesias

Sound: Sergio Bürmann

Visual Effects: Sonsoles Aranguren

Casting: Yolanda Serrano, Eva Leira

Cast: Penélope Cruz (Janis), Milena Smit (Ana), Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (Teresa), Israel Elejalde (Arturo)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actress 2022
  • Feature Film Selection 2022