A woman is carried at the end of her rope by a recalcitrant former lover. In what may be their last exchange, she talks to the man on the phone. She cuddles, she feigns calm, she giggles, she gives up – things are getting a little crazy.
It looks like a Pedro Almodóvar movie. It was and still is. It’s a little complicated.
This The film, barely 30 minutes long but as complete as almost any feature film by the dazzling Spanish filmmaker, is an adaptation of the venerable 1930 monodrama “La Voix Humaine”, a magnificent air of an actress by Jean Cocteau. In 1988, Almodóvar borrowed his narrative elements for his film “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown”, which helped the director move up into the mainstream. Previously, he was an almost underground cult figure.
Almodóvar had been planning to make a film in English for some time, and now he has done so, together with British actress Tilda Swinton. Does it sound like a match made in heaven? Yeah, that’s about. Almodóvar’s sense of cinematic design – the setting simulates a luxury apartment and bares it like a soundstage illusion – is deeply tied to Swinton’s performance here, who projects mercurial emotion with watch-precision Swiss.
The credits state that this is a “free” adaptation of Cocteau’s work. One factor in this freedom is that the monologue only begins about 10 minutes, unlike Cocteau’s work. But Almodóvar’s poetic spirit merges perfectly with that of the old master. Not surprising.
Rated R for the language. In English and Spanish, with subtitles. Duration: 30 minutes. In theaters. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.