"Volver" brought Almodovar and Maura back together after a 17-year split. Maura starred in many of the director's features, perhaps most memorably in "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" in 1987.
After that film, the two quarreled and split although they have never told the world why.
"Volver" also marks Cruz's return to Spanish cinema in an impressive lead performance, after spending the last six years establishing an international career in Hollywood.
"I still don't really believe that I was lucky enough to make this film," Cruz gushed. "It was like a gift from God."
The film's title has many meanings for Almodovar.
"There are several returns for me. I've gone back, a little bit, to comedy. I've gone back to the feminine universe, to La Mancha ... (and) to the maternal role as the origin of life and fiction," he wrote in notes for the film.
Almodovar has often said that his addiction to stories comes from listening to conversations between women as a child.
Mostly filmed on location in La Mancha, "Volver" seems set for box office success, at least in Spain.
Apart from the pull of the director and the lead actress, village life is a nostalgic ideal for many Spaniards who moved to Madrid and Barcelona seeking work in the 1970s and 80s.
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