Character Analysis – Raimunda in Volver

The Spanish word ‘Volver’ means to return. The connotations of this word are used as prominent themes used throughout the 2006 film written and directed by Pedro Almodovar. Famed for his work involving predominantly female characters, this film is also said to be a personal return for Almodovar as he makes the choice to cast a female protagonist after his previous two films were considered more male orientated. The film is set in post-Franco Spain, in the La Mancha region; the place of Almodovar’s birth. Categorised as a melodrama with comedy and thriller aspects, the film concerns itself with the life of the lead character ‘Raimunda’, a young Spanish mother living in relative poverty on the outskirts of Madrid. Played by Penelope Cruz, Raimunda is a character of much depth and her journey throughout the film will be the primary focus of this essay. I will also explore the techniques used to develop the character herself as well as the audiences understanding of her in relation to the events of the times, specifically the effects of living in post-Franco Spain as well as the new role which some Spanish women adopted under less restrictive ruling.

Immediately upon being introduced to Raimunda the audience is aware of her presence as a strong willed individual. Her involvement with the audience in the earlier stages of the film is somewhat limited, although she does display some of her characteristics. After being seen cleaning the grave of what is presumed to be her father, Raimunda sets off with her sister Sole, played by Lola Duenas, and her daughter Paula who is played by Yohana Cobo. Even in these opening scenes, Raimunda’s more obvious qualities are showcased. For example as the trio decide to leave the graveyard, Raimunda asserts her dominance effectively by saying “I’ll drive?” almost asking rhetorically, knowing full well her sister is unlikely to protest. Something as simple as these two words and the way…

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