Strange Way of Life
Has any short film garnered as much buzz at Cannes as Strange Way of Life? Ever since a sunset selfie of Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal surfaced on the Internet, people have been dying to know more about Pedro Almodóvar’s latest project – and were surprised to learn of its brief runtime of 30 minutes. As part of the festival’s Rendez-Vous With… series, the Spanish cult filmmaker now presented his mouthwatering morsel of a western romance to a packed house, before speaking about the piece in a moderated talk.
They hardly spent 60 days together, yet neither Silva (Pascal) nor Jake (Hawke) have forgotten the events that took place 25 years ago. The latter is now sheriff of Bitter Creek, when a sudden visit from his old friend rekindles long-lost desires. Sobered up the next morning, Jake starts to question the odd timing and whether it may have something to do with a murder case he is investigating.
Like the tease he is, Almodóvar uses the abbreviated format to introduce compelling characters, lay bare their inner strife, and, just when the audience has truly whetted their appetite, the end credits leave an aching wish for more.
Produced by Saint Laurent (the fashion house has founded a production company), with outfits designed by Anthony Vaccarello for the brand, the costume design immediately catches the eye: signature Almodóvar colours meet period-appropriate features, a spicy reinterpretation of Hollywood’s classical cowboy arrangements.
The camera frames the protagonists mostly in close-ups of their faces, receding in service to the performances. Hawke and Pascal convince as star-crossed lovers, despite the script veering into an over-expository, artificial monologue as they retell their story to one another. The rest of the dialogue bristles with joyful banter and wistful ineffability alike, likely firing up a number of fan fiction stories eager to elongate the thrill of this world.
Strange Way of Life does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Strange Way of Life here: