Spanish film queen Penelope Cruz wins best actress award in Venice

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Venice (AFP)

Penelope Cruz won the award for best actress at the Venice Film Festival, the latest success of the conquering queen of Spanish cinema.

Cruz won the award for his lead role in “Parallel Mothers”, his latest collaboration with legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar.

It was a surprisingly political turning point for the flamboyant filmmaker, exploring the trauma of the 1930s Spanish Civil War alongside the story of two mothers sharing a motherhood.

It marks a departure into dark historical territory for the director, while also focusing on the themes of motherhood and female relationships that have been central to many of his films.

Cruz described Almodovar as “my safety net” at a press conference ahead of their red carpet appearance in Venice.

“He can ask me to do something that can really scare me, but I know he will be there to support me,” she said, adding that she was grateful to the director for giving her “so much. different and stimulating characters “.

Cruz has appeared in seven of Almodovar’s films, including “All About My Mother” and “Volver”.

She’s had a busy fortnight in Venice, also starring in the much-loved “Official Competition,” a comedy about self-centered people in the film world that saw her in a rare appearance alongside her Spanish megastar Antonio Banderas. .

– Young talent –

Born in Madrid in 1974, she seemed destined for a career in entertainment, first studying ballet at the National Conservatory of Spain before winning an acting competition that led her to roles on television and in plays. music videos.

His debut in the cinema took place in “Jamon, Jamon” by Spanish director Bigas Luna in 1992, which was to critical acclaim and stood out for its erotic scenes featuring Cruz, 16, and Javier Bardem, who would become much later her husband.

This was just the latest in a series of collaborations with Almodovar Philippe MONTEFORTE AFP

This was followed soon after by “Belle Epoque,” ​​which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and featured Cruz as one of four sisters vying for the love of an army deserter. .

The next step came in 1997, when she was chosen for her first Pedro Almodovar film.

“Live Flesh” marked the start of a ten-year collaboration between Almodovar and the actress that included roles in another Oscar-winning foreign language, “All About My Mother” in 1999.

– The struggles of Hollywood –

Cruz had difficulty establishing himself in the general public of Hollywood.

She achieved a rare but undesirable feat in 2001 when she received three Oscar nominations “Golden Raspberries” for “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, “Blow” and “Vanilla Sky”.

The latter hired her alongside Tom Cruise, with whom she ended up dating him for three years.

Other flops followed, notably “Gothika” and “Sahara”.

But she bounced back, netting an Oscar nomination for Almodovar’s 2006 film “Volver.”

And she made history when she became the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar in 2009 for her role in Woody Allen’s comedy “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

She was once again associated with Bardem in this film, triggering a romance that led to their marriage in 2010.

The fiercely independent Cruz is also wary of being typified simply for her striking physical beauty.

“The hardest thing in the world is to start a career known only for the looks and then to try and become a serious actress,” she said.

“No one will take you seriously once you get to know the pretty woman.”

burs-er / dd

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