Tough to break this embrace

Almodovar, Sony Classics team for 10th time with noir-style release

Sony Pictures Classics, renewing its longtime ties to Pedro Almodovar, has acquired North American rights to the writer-director's latest film, "Broken Embraces," starring Penelope Cruz.

Cruz, who received a best actress Oscar nomination for Almodovar's previous film, "Volver," will play a provincial actress in the movie, which has been shooting in Madrid and the Canary Islands. Working from his own screenplay, Almodovar has described the movie as an amour fou involving four characters (played by Cruz, Blanca Portillo, Lluis Homar and Jose Luis Gomez) in the style of a hard-boiled, '50s American film noir. The cast also includes Rossy de Palma, Kiti Manver, Chus Lampreave, Lola Duenas and Angela Molina, who will play Cruz's mother.

Produced by the director's brother, Augustin Almodovar, "Embraces" is the 10th Almodovar film that SPC has handled. In addition to "Volver," SPC was the domestic distributor for Almodovar's foreign-language Oscar winner "All About My Mother," his original screenplay Oscar winner "Talk to Her" and foreign-language nominee "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."

SPC brokered the deal with the Almodovars' production company El Deseo. Universal International Studio, Uni's foreign production arm, is co-financing with El Deseo. Universal's Focus is handling worldwide sales outside of Spain, France, the U.K., Benelux and Switzerland. (partialdiff)
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