EVERYBODY KNOWS Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz team up with an Oscar-winner…
Despite having directed two movies, A Separation and The Salesman, awarded Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has yet to be turned by Tinseltown. But it was only a matter of time before movie stars came knocking, and his latest film, Everybody Knows, stars husband and wife Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz in a familial drama as Spanish as pinchos and paella.
“I met Javier Bardem in Los Angeles many years ago and a few years later I met Penélope in Madrid,” explains the 46-year-old Farhadi, who prepped for several years, moving to Spain and hiring a tutor to learn the language and immerse himself in the culture. “Javier and Penélope helped me, much more than actors usually do, in the actual making of the film. They were real friends and provided me with staunch support.”
With Cruz’s character Laura returning from marriage and motherhood in Argentina to attend the wedding of her younger sister, the film kicks into gear when a family member is kidnapped and there is a ransom to be paid. “It’s a means to deal with topics that I believe are very important as a person,” says Farhadi. “If I found myself on the horns of such a dilemma, what would I have done? What choice would I have made?”
It’s not the first time Farhadi has worked abroad; The Past saw him direct Bérénice Bejo in France. But with married leads Cruz and Bardem, who plays a local vintner and former flame to Laura, it made for a very intriguing Iberian cocktail. “The film is totally Spanish, obviously,” says Farhadi. “However, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is a very Iranian soul to the film.”
Shooting in Torrelaguna, north of Madrid, Farhadi had one thing in mind as he constructed a melodrama dealing with money, morality and marriage. “I think films we love that stay with us are films which depict characters who you want to stay with beyond the end of the film.
That is the spirit in which I did this film.”
ETA | 8 MARCH / EVERYBODY KNOWS OPENS THiS SPRiNG.
SpaNISH mYStERY Bárbara Lennie’s Bea with Javier Bardem’s Paco, one-time lover of Penélope Cruz’s homeward-bound Laura (below).