Before beginning work on the score for “Volver,” director Pedro Almodovar gave this advice to composer Alberto Iglesias: “Just be as close as possible to the main character, Raimunda (Penelope Cruz). Like when you are taking care of someone.”
“Volver” is their sixth consecutive film — an 11-year relationship that has included a jazz sensibility for “All About My Mother,” the evocative reflection of “Talk to Her” and the Bernard Herrmann-style string intensity of “Bad Education.” “Volver” combines all of those moods and more.
In an email exchange from Madrid, Iglesias calls the longtime partnership “stable, but always on the high wire. I very much like his films (but) every film is a challenge. And experiences from the past don’t always work. What is actually constructive is your wish to renew.”
The Spanish composer, a 2005 Oscar nominee for “The Constant Gardener,” says that Almodovar does not attend recording sessions but is a frequent studio visitor during the writing process.
“It would have been really interesting to record him all these years while he was explaining his ideas to me,” Iglesias says. “It would be a book about what acting is, what the light is, why this way and not the other …”
The composer visited the set in La Mancha, and his memory of the day illustrates why his music is so in sync with Almodovar’s imagery.
“It was tremendously hot,” he says, “but inside the house it was cold, and a silence from another age surrounded it.”