Pedro Almodovar is plottinghis return to female-centred comedies with what looks set to be his next film, Volver, starring Penelope Cruz.

The director said the project, one of several he has in development, would be hisnext over the weekend in Rome where his Bad Education (La Mala Educacion) was honored with the Nastro d'Argento prize forbest foreign film.

He described Volver (literally, "to come back") as a"generational story" about three women: a grandmother, a daughterand a granddaughter. The action will take place between Madrid and his nativeLa Mancha in a tale that involves both ghosts and tango.

"I'm not sayingit will be 100% comedy," Almodovar told local journalists. "But itwill definitely have a lighter and funnier tone."

Actress Chus Lampreave, aveteran of his movies, will once again be in the cast. Cruz's Spanishagent Katrina Bayonas confirmed that Cruz, who starred in Almodovar's AllAbout My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre),has reserved dates during June to shoot with the director.

Meanwhile, the Almodovarbrothers' Madrid production company El Deseo announced on Monday that it waspulling out of the Spanish Film Academy due to a "disagreement with thevoting system."

Almodovar'sinternationally-awarded Bad Educationwas overlooked for Spain's nomination for the foreign-language Oscar andreceived none of the nation's Oscar-equivalent Goya Awards on January30.

Others have also critiquedthe Academy's new voting system for the Goyas, which limits members tovoting only within their specialist fields.

Lolafilms producer AndresVicente Gomez called it 'a bad copy of the Oscars' in localnewspaper El Mundo, pointing outhow the small size of the Spanish Academy means prizes can effectively bedecided by a very limited number of people.