After scooping up Best Screenplay and Best Actor honors for The Salesman at the Cannes Film Festival, Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi has swiftly landed two more international prizes for his next film: Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. The Oscar-winning couple reuniting onsceen is only the half of it; as previously announced last year, they join producers Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar for Farhadi’s first Spanish-language project. If you place the emphasis on the first word in “cinematic universe,” this is the sort of continent-crossing collaboration of which one dreams. As the superheroes behind A Separation, Volver, No Country for Old Men, All About My Mother, and Wild Tales coalesce and move towards production, we can’t wait to see what kind of direction they take the project.
While Cruz, Bardem, and the brothers Almodóvar have all collaborated with one another in some form before – recently, Broken Embraces, Vicky Cristina Barcelona; not so recently, Live Flesh – it should be fascinating to see how these very outwardly expressive films gel against Farhadi’s track record of inwardly simmering yet subtly explosive dramas. It’s no surprise that Cruz and Bardem already contend with some of cinema’s sexiest movie star marriages – contemporarily, I’d give them the gold – and it will be fascinating to see how or if Farhadi bends that image against them. His films tend to combust entrenched socio-cultural strictures rather than manipulate flashy celeb fodder but, then again, Kubrick was never much of an Us Weekly guy and he still warped Cruise and Kidman with fascinatingly transgressive results.
What are some of your favorite movies with IRL married couples thrust into diegesis? Or, on a more directorly note, what do you think of Almodóvar and Farhadi teaming up behind the scenes?