The Human Voice On BMS Stream Review: So Sensual Is Pedro Almodóvar’s Artifice, You’ll Want To Press Yourself Up Against The Screen- Film Companion
We are trained to spot an Almodóvar. For one it’s all staged, it all looks staged, it all wants to look staged. In the case of his 30-minute short film, The Human Voice which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year, more literally so — the entire house in which Tilda Swinton’s character lives is a hollowed out film set on a studio floor. (Though this isn’t initially apparent. You first see her ambling about a studio floor, and a scene later in a house. It’s only a few scenes in, via top-shot you realize that the house is a set, at the edge of the studio floor.) There is a fragility here, everything on the verge of collapse, literally and psychologically, with the free-standing walls propped up by wooden legs, and the sanity propped up by a wafer-thin tether to consequence.
Almodóvar’s other stamp of recognition is colour, and texture. So tactile, so pungent, you want to reach across the screen and touch it, or like a brazen character from one of his films, run your tongue along its inviting surface. Take Swinton’s character — in a candy apple red ensemble with a turtleneck, she pops sunshine yellow pills to then slump onto a crocodile green silk bed cover under a reproduction of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Venus and Cupid (Sleeping Venus), bathed in cobalt blue. All the primary colours, leopard prints, and appliques announce themselves with no shame or modesty.