'Very colourful': Pedro Almodóvar making 'a different kind of western'

This article is more than 7 months old

Legendary Spanish director outlines his plans and vision at Venice film festival

Pedro Almodóvar premiered his latest film, The Human Voice, at the Venice film festival this week.
Pedro Almodóvar premiered his latest film, The Human Voice, at the Venice film festival this week. Photograph: Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis/Getty Images
Pedro Almodóvar premiered his latest film, The Human Voice, at the Venice film festival this week. Photograph: Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis/Getty Images
AFP in Venice

Last modified on Thu 3 Sep 2020 18.17 EDT

Legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar has said that he is working on a western – a surprising career turn for the master of female-friendly melodrama who made his name with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

The Oscar winner told reporters at the Venice film festival that he has written the cowboy film, but that it was “a different kind of western, which will be very colourful ... very theatrical”.

Almodóvar premiered his latest film, The Human Voice, in Venice on Thursday, with British actress Tilda Swinton in the lead as a desperate and vengeful woman waiting for her estranged lover to ring her.

Almodóvar with Tilda Swinton in Venice this week.
Almodóvar with Tilda Swinton in Venice this week. Photograph: Ron Crusow/imageSPACE/Rex/Shutterstock

Shot last month, the 30-minute film is his first in English. It is very freely adapted from Jean Cocteau’s classic play.

The 70-year-old director admitted that the play and its theme of the jilted lover waiting on a “call that will never come” was close to his heart. “It has happened to me,” he told a press conference, and he said that characters hanging on a telephone call were a thread that ran through a lot of his own work.

Almodóvar also claimed that he has started moving in a new, more austere, direction since his 2016 film Julieta.

“I am working towards a leaner narrative with fewer elements, which I analyse very deeply,” insisted the director, famous for his visual and emotional flamboyance.

“The experience of sobriety and austerity accompanied me also in Pain and Glory,” he said, referring to his 2019 film in which Antonio Banderas played a film director suffering from chronic back pain, as Almodóvar himself also does, in a story that mixes autobiography and fiction.

Almodóvar said he is hoping to start his next feature, Madres Paralelas, in October, and then make the western and another film called A Manual for Cleaning Women.