A brilliant synthesis of love story, melodrama, ghost story and thriller, Volver stands as a towering achievement even amid Almodóvar’s superb body of work. Calling the film “the deepest return to my roots”, the director goes back to his birthplace, La Mancha, to tell the story of a group of women, all inspired by women from his own childhood. Three generations survive fire, insanity and even death by means of goodness, lies and boundless vitality. They are Raimunda (Penelope Cruz), married with a teenage daughter, Sole (Lola Dueñas), her sister, and their mother (Carmen Maura), who died in a fire, but who appears to Sole. The film is visually sumptuous, and the performances equally strong.