An film festival wouldn’t be a proper film festival without Pedro Almodóvar. Today the BFI London Film Festival have announced Almodóvar’s English-language debut The Human Voice has joined the festival’s Shorts programme.
The short, that is freely based on Jean Cocteau’s play, presents a woman on the edge portrayed by Tilda Swinton waiting for her lover to call.
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. During the three days of waiting, the woman only goes out to the street once, to buy an axe and a can of gasoline. The woman goes through all sorts of moods, from helplessness to despair and loss of control. She makes herself up, she dresses up as if going to a party, she considers throwing herself off of the balcony, until her ex-lover calls on the phone, but she’s unconscious because she’s taken a combination of thirteen pills and cannot answer the call. The dog licks her face until she wakes up. After a cold shower, revived by a coffee as black as her state of mind, the telephone rings again and this time she can answer. The human voice is hers, we never hear the voice of her lover. At first she pretends to act normal and calm, but she is always on the verge of exploding in the face of the man’s hypocrisy and meanness. THE HUMAN VOICE is a moral lesson about desire, even though its protagonist is on the verge of the very same abyss. Risk is an essential part of the adventure of living and loving. Pain is very present in the monologue. As I said at first, it is about the disorientation and distress of two living beings who grieve their master.
The film will screen at BFI Southbank on Saturday 17th October and will be accompanied by a pre-recorded introduction and Q&A with Pedro Almodóvar and Tilda Swinton.
The 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is taking place from Wednesday 7th October until Sunday 18th October 2020. The full programme is available at the BFI Website, with all tickets are available to book now.
The Human Voice is written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, produced by Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García and stars Tilda Swinton.