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Slideshow

  • THE HUMAN VOICE
  • WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

Pedro Almodóvar’s
THE HUMAN VOICE
Starring Tilda Swinton
And
WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

Now Playing in Theater Closed Caption Available icon

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Playing with WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

NY Times Critic’s Pick

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An elegant wraithlike woman (the inimitable Tilda Swinton), a fidgety dog, a chicly furnished apartment, an ax. In his short film THE HUMAN VOICE – based freely on the stage play by Jean Cocteau – master auteur Pedro Almodóvar takes a minimalist concept (“a text and an actress”) and experiments like never before. Working for the first time in English and in short form, while hybridizing elements of cinema and theater via a stunning “fourth wall” set design, Almodóvar distills the intense despair of eros in crisis: desire unrequited and a modern woman facing the abyss of abandonment. In a taut, tour-de-force performance, Swinton brings this woman to life—nerves frayed, pining and unhinged, yet not devoid of self-respect. The human voice is hers alone, one side of a final phone conversation with her lover who, three days gone, has yet to retrieve his belongings. In the director’s own words, this brief masterpiece is about “the disorientation and distress” of grief. At the same time, it is an exhilarating assertion of life and beauty.

2020     30 MINS.      USA / SPAIN       IN ENGLISH        SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Playing with WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, Almodóvar’s multiple award-winning, cult-classic black comedy (based on the same Cocteau play and starring Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas).

1988      89 MINS.      SPAIN       IN SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Reviews

On THE HUMAN VOICE:

“Critic’s Pick. As fully fleshed out as almost any feature by the dazzling Spanish filmmaker… Working with the British actress Tilda Swinton. Does this sound like a match made in heaven? Yeah, it pretty much is. Swinton’s performance here… projects mercurial emotion with Swiss watch precision.”
– Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
Read the full review.

“Tilda Swinton, celebrated, adored and stalked by the camera in a 30-minute dramaturgical, couture-driven, production-designed emotional crack-up, is pure cinematic enjoyment.”
– John Waters (Top 10 for 2020 List), Artforum

“Luminous. Freely based on a Jean Cocteau play from 1928. Stars an otherworldly Tilda Swinton - a cross between David Bowie and Deborah Kerr. Almodovar not only fills the screen with a myriad of references to his films and the women who’ve starred in them, he drenches it in bursting colours, music and emotions, like a much-needed flickering feast.  Swinton is filmed mainly during a final phone conversation with her ex-lover, riding a carousel of mixed emotions - exasperated, calm, hurt, strong, fierce, scared - as she tried in vain to anticipate what he may want to hear.”
– Mar Diestro-Dopido, Sight + Sound

“A PERFECT HALF-HOUR OF FILM.  THE HUMAN VOICE is all about the muddied lines between the fabricated and the genuine, and about how much a performance can be divorced from the sincere feelings that might be undergirding it… Sometimes, you need to burn everything to the ground to start over — or to see Tilda Swinton do it in a pair of gold lamé pants, which is frankly just as good.”
– Alison Willmore, Vulture

“A very tasty slice of high melodrama courtesy of Pedro Almodóvar, Jean Cocteau and Tilda Swinton.”
– Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com

“Almodóvar’s English-language debut is a bold summation of his career. A delight no matter how you slice it; for fans, it’s a reminder of what makes Almodóvar such a great director, and for neophytes, it’s an unforgettable introduction.”
– Karen Han, Polygon

Film Forum