Pedro Almodóvar revealed that “Strange Way of Life,” his Western short film starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke, will premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival. The director broke the news on Dua Lipa’s “At Your Service” podcast.
Almodóvar described the half-hour film as a “queer Western, in the sense that there are two men and they love each other.” He added that Pascal and Hawke’s characters “behave in that situation in an opposite way.”
“It’s about masculinity in a deep sense, because the Western is a male genre,” Almodóvar said. “What I can tell you about the film is that it has a lot of the elements of the Western — it has the gunslinger, it has the ranch, it has the sheriff — but what it has that most Westerns don’t have is the kind of dialogue that I don’t think a Western film has ever captured between two men. And now I think I’m telling you a little bit too much.”
The short is shot in English and is set up at El Deseo, the Almodóvar brothers’ Madrid-based production company. “Strange Way of Life” begins with a man, Silva, riding on a horse across a desert to Bitter Creek. He has come to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, the two men worked together as hired gunmen. Silva comes with the pretext of re-encountering his friend from youth, but the following morning Sheriff Jake tells him that the real reason for his visit isn’t memories of their old friendship.
Almodóvar previously explained that the film’s title echoes the name of a famous fado written and sung by Amália Rodrigues. Its lyrics claim that there’s no stranger existence than one that ignores one’s own desires — which raises the question as to how much the film could turn on desire.
Check out previous episodes of Lipa’s “At Your Service,” as well as her newsletter, at the Service95 website.