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A STRONG OSCAR BET

VOLVER: Penelope Cruz, Lola Duenas, Blanca Portillo, Carmen Maura, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave, Leandro Rivera, Carmen Machi, Pilar Castro (Written and directed by Pedro Almodovar; Sony Picures Classics) As is frequently the case with the films of Spain’s most outrageously daring, funny, profound, trashy auteur, “Volver” will be mostly, if not all, about women. This time, Almodovar intimately explores the quirks of the female members of a far-from-mainstream family. In truth, their lives are pretty much a mess, which is why the vexed, volatile mom played by Carmen Maura feels compelled to get back down to earth shortly after her untimely death. She’s simply got to make things right for her daughters (Penelope Cruz and Lola Duenas) and her granddaughter (Yohana Cobo). Go, ghost, go! Opens 11/3/06