Arts & Entertainment

The Human Voice, an act of freedom in Almodóvar’s cycle of change

By Gonzalo Sanchez

Venice, Italy, 3 Sep (efe-epa).- Filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar said his first short film The Human Voice is an experiment in freedom as the work was presented on Thursday at Venice film festival.

The Spanish director redesigned the classic work by Jean Cocteau in English and modernized its disconsolate protagonist, who is brought to life by Tilda Swinton.

“I think this will be the last time I’ll disturb Cocteau’s text again with my adaptation,” he joked on his return to the Venice competition a year after receiving a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.

The Human Voice is an adaptation of Cocteau’s 1930 monodrama in which a woman is on the phone to her former lover the day before he is due to marry someone else.

It is a concept that has appeared several times in Almodóvar’s filmography, including in Law of Desire and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

“It’s been very fertile and somehow the situation of an abandoned woman, alone on the verge of madness next to a dog also abandoned and with whom she shares the pain and a pile of ready-packed suitcases is a dramatic situation that always stimulated me,” he said.

He added: “I almost naturally wanted to do something not only different but almost opposite because otherwise, I didn’t recognize as contemporary the woman who waits and talks to her ex-lover.”

Swinton in the lead role speaks on wireless headphones, wandering around a designer house.

Almodóvar said he embarked on the work as “a whim” and that it was an “experiment in freedom”.

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