Award-winning Spanish producer Agustín Almodóvar, brother of Oscar-winning filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, has tweeted the first clip of the latter’s upcoming short film “The Human Voice,” starring Academy Award-winning actor Tilda Swinton and produced by the siblings’ El Deseo banner.
The almost one-minute clip is dialogue-free, but shows Swinton in a brilliant red dress walking out from behind an opaque sheet and cross in front of a large, grey backstage wall before sitting down with her hands folded across her lap, a concerned look on her face as she inhales deeply.
In July, Agustín tweeted the first set photos of the production, in which Pedro is seen wearing a stylish black mask with Swinton using a handheld face shield. Agustín commented in Spanish: “Pedro Almodóvar, Tilda Swinton, El Deseo (the brothers’ production company), #LaVozHumana . First day of shooting.”
After years as one of the world’s most-recognized auteurs — who was once offered the chance to direct 1992’s “Sister Act,” but ultimately passed — the short marks the 70-year-old filmmaker’s first English-language production.
Jack Cocteau’s original one-act play “The Human Voice” has long been a source of inspiration for Almódovar. Set in Paris, it turns on a woman’s final phone call with her lover of five years, who is scheduled to marry another woman the following day. The call triggers crippling depression in the protagonist. Almodóvar first featured the piece in 1987’s “The Law of Desire,” where Carmen Maura appeared in a stage production. It also inspired 1988’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” his first Oscar-nominated feature.
When Almodóvar first announced the short earlier this year, he explained that he and Swinton had worked together to update aspects of the story and the woman’s behavior, which didn’t fit modern sensibilities. He also confirmed a near-finished screenplay adaptation of Lucia Berlin’s “A Manual for Cleaning Women,” also to be filmed in English.