Pedro Almodovar, The Human Voice
First Filmfestival screening in Switzerland
A woman watches time passing next to the suitcases of her ex-lover (who is supposed to come pick them up, but never arrives) and a restless dog who doesn’t understand that his master has abandoned him. Two living beings facing abandonment.
Yet, The Human Voice is more than that: it is an adaptation of a Jean Cocteau play first performed in 1930, designed as a monologue of a person gone mad with grief. It is a showcase for the 60-year-old actress, a highlight in a career that includes winning an Oscar, doing two movies with Bong Joon-Ho and transforming into David Bowie. It is her first project with Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.
It is a lush short film and an exercise in extreme formalism that leaves you with the sensation you’ve just sat through a perfume commercial run amuck.
And, even though it retains the basic theatrical conceit of a lone character having a one-sided conversation, it becomes a pure cinematic expression.