TOMORROW’S arrival of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta heralds the start of a post-summer blockbuster season of “proper” City Screen films, leaving Suicide Squad’s banalities as just a bad memory.

Woody Allen’s Café Society, David Mackenzie’s Hell Or High Water, Julio Medem’s Ma Ma with Penelope Cruz. and French icons Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu’s first film together in four decades, Valley Of Love, are all booked into the Picturehouse cinema diary.

They are bound for City Screen in the wake of Todd Solondz’s beautifully bizarre, maudlin comedy, Wiener-Dog, reminding you of the bravura days of left-field American filmmaking in a two-week City Screen run from August 12.

Julieta (15), previewed to a full house last Sunday evening, reaffirms Almodovar’s remarkable gifts as a mesmerising European, yet universal storyteller, typically sensuous, richly cinematic, yet in this instance also solemn, grave and melancholic to the point of hurting the heart.

Almodovar’s story is spread over three periods in Julieta’s life, told in flashback after the middle-aged Julieta (Emma Suarez) decides to leave Madrid for good, until a chance meeting reveals that Antia, the troubled daughter she has not seen for 12 years since being taken under the wing of a neo-religious commune, is living in another country.

As Julieta writes an explanatory letter to Antia, Almodovar takes Julieta back to those dozen years earlier and to when she first met the fisherman who hooked her in her young teaching days, both ages being played by Adriana Ugarte in a series of of ever-evolving, ever revealing vignettes of emotional complexity, sensuality, desperation and female focus that so engaged in his very contrasting last masterpiece, 2006's Volver. When the Oscars go overboard for the likes of Lenny Abrahamson's Room, Julieta reaffirms how the best of European cinema far exceeds Hollywood's attempts at cinema of gravitas.

Also opening tomorrow will be Guillaume Nicloux's Valley Of Love (15), Huppert and Depardieu's first match-up since Maurice Pialat's Loulou 36 years ago. Isabelle and Gerard play Isabelle and Gerard, a long-divorced, spiky couple who find themselves reunited by a letter from their son, Michael, six months after his suicide. The missive invites them to a rendezvous in California's Death Valley on a specific date with the promise that Michael will somehow appear.

York Press:

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in Woody Allen's Café Society

Rather like each return of The Rolling Stones with a new studio album, there is always hope that the latest Woody Allen film might be the one to match former glories. Midnight In Paris, 2012's fantasy romance in France, came very close and now Café Society (12A) is trailing positive vapours ahead of its September 2 opening.

Writer-director Allen despatches the nebbishy Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) to a beautifully evoked 1930s' Hollywood, where his powerful agent uncle (Steve Carell) finds him a lowly job and a romance with his level-headed secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). Somewhat disillusioned, Bobby returns home to New York to work for his gangster brother, Ben (Corey Stoll), a man given to disposing of rivals in cement overcoats.

Café Society evokes both Bullets Over Broadway and Midnight In Paris in its period evocation and emotional entanglements and is said to be more sophisticated than either, while Eisenburg is the latest lead to be called on to channel Allen's trademark nervous tics.

Scottish director David Mackenzie's double buddy movie, Hell Or High Water (15) opens on September 9 with its joyful story of cool-headed Toby (Chris Pine) and impulsive brother Tanner (Ben Foster) bank-robbing their way across the blighted badlands of Texas. In pursuit are soon-to-retire Texas Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) and his long-suffering Native American deputy, Alberto (Gil Birmingham).

Despite his brother's admonishment, Tanner pushes the risk factor with random heists in a McKenzie movie with subplots, flashes of dark humour and surprises galore, a wry script by Taylor Sheridan and echoes of the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple and True Grit.

Volver star Penelope Cruz can be seen in the Spanish film MaMa (12A) on September 13 at 6pm and September 18 at 10.45am. Co-producer Cruz plays Magda, whose diagnosis with breast cancer triggers the breakdown of her marriage. A slow-burning romance ensues with a football talent scout (Luis Tosar), who is keen to recruit her son in writer-director Julio Medem's typically complex, dreamlike work.

Bookings for City Screen's late-summer programme can be made on 0871 902 5726 or at