Unpredictable, delicious and flamboyantly stunning: Parallel Mothers reviewed

Pedro Almodovar’s latest is a film about identity, secrets, lies, buried skeletons, real and metaphorical. But what you mainly need to know is: it is wonderful and delicious and blissfully styled — Almodovar doesn’t do ‘neutrals’ or Uggs — and constantly surprising. With most films you know exactly what you’ll be getting within the first ten minutes. Oh, it’s that film. But here we’ve often no idea what direction it’s going to take and although the focus shifts it never feels fragmented. Instead, it all adds up to an immensely rich, satisfying whole. Almodovar is, above all, a director who loves women – young, old, dead, alive, beautiful, odd-looking The

How the International Brigades were ‘thrown into the heart of the fire’

During the Spanish civil war of 1936 to 1939, 35,000 men and women from around the world volunteered to fight against the forces of General Franco and his supporters from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. When the volunteers were withdrawn in September 1938 after two years of bitter fighting, more than a fifth of them had been killed and very few emerged unscathed. Conflicts are by definition binary affairs, so it’s inevitable that bitterly contrasting views of the role of the International Brigades have existed ever since the civil war itself. For the volunteers and their supporters, their sacrifices were a ‘heroic example of democracy’s solidarity and universality’. Conversely, Francoist