pedro.jpgJust got a kicky little press release sounding various kinds of trumpets in advance of Pedro Almodovar's latest, Volver. We've known for a little bit of time that the film was set to star Penelope Cruz and Carmen Maura; we can now also report that Volver will be the sixth film from the Spanish director to be distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics, and it will begin filming this July in Madrid. And, to celebrate the "20th anniversary of Pedro Almodovar's introduction to American audiences," in April 2006 SPC will launch a major Almodovar retrospective, featuring new prints of eight films in theaters across North America. "You heard it here first," reads the statement. "2006 will be the Year of Almodovar." A nagging voice inside my brain says, "Considering he's probably the foreign-language director most honored by American critics and best known by middle-brow American audiences, isn't every year in which he releases a new film the Year of Almodovar?" - but I'm trying to ignore it.