Almodóvar falls in love with Cannes with his Brokeback Mountain and the support of Minister Iceta and his actors

Pedro Almodóvar presented in Cannes his Brokeback Mountain, a Western medium-length film starring Peter Pascal y Ethan Hawke, two ex-lovers who meet again and live new adventures as well as recover their passion. The genius from La Mancha, whose reception in the event showed this Wednesday that they love him as much on La Promenade de la Croisette as they do on Calzada de Calatrava, claims that the taboo on homosexuality remains as intact in the western as in football and bullfights, genres eminently masculine.

A great ovation closed this Wednesday the screening in Cannes of “Strange way of life”, the “whim” of Pedro Almodóvar, starring the fashionable actor, the Chilean Pedro Pascal, together with Ethan Hawke, and which also serves to prepare his first feature film in English.

With the presence of Hawke and the absence of Pascal (in the midst of filming the second part of “Gladiator”), the short was screened outside of the festival’s competition but in its official section, in a room full to overflowing and with guests such as Catherine Deneuve, Xavier Dolan, Blanca Li or the Spanish Minister of Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta

The entire audience stood up to celebrate what is the director’s second short film in English and which explores the relationship of two cowboys, which is complicated by a murder and which is shot with his recognizable precious style and full of details.

A project that arose from a proposal by Anthony Vacarello, the creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, who acts as a producer of the film and who wanted to work with the director from La Mancha.

“Immediately” he thought of a short story he had written and that it was just “the dialogues of the cowboys after having a crazy night,” Almodóvar explained to EFE in an interview before presenting his film in Cannes.

So he returned to Spain and wrote “what happened before that night and after.” And he did it in the form of a western because already in the dialogues that he had written it seemed to him “much more interesting that two men talk about their own desire in a genre that he had never touched and in a genre that was very masculine”.

A short that begins in a very poetic way, with the fado that gives the film its title, by Amalia Rodrigues in a version by Caetano Veloso, and in whose text it is suggested that there is no more strange existence than living turning your back on your own desires.

For this story he quickly thought of Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke because he knew them and because they are physically and culturally opposite, which was good for the film. “I called them and luckily they said yes right away. I only had to wait a few months for Pascal to finish shooting ‘The Last of Us,’ then he came here and last summer we did it.”

Almodóvar highlights the good relationship he has with the two actors, whom he already knew before this shoot. He had seen Hawke at the theater in Madrid, doing “The Cherry Garden” and they became friends in those days when he was in the Spanish capital. The theater also joined Pascal, in his case in a “King Lear (King Lear)” with Glenda Jackson, in addition to having common friends who had worked with the Chilean in the series “Narcos”.

Along with them, in small roles, Manu Rios, who became very popular after his participation in “Elite”, Pedro Casablanc, Sara Sálamo, José Conessa and Jason Fernández.

The story of “Strange way of life” may be reminiscent of “Brokeback Mountain”, although for Almodóvar they are very different. Ang Lee’s film, which the Spanish filmmaker considers “an exception within the cinema that Hollywood has made”, focuses on sheepherders, rather than on winners or cowboys, and is not comparable to his short film neither in length nor in terms of dimensions. implications that the story of the feature film has with the families of the protagonists.

After the Cate Blanchett fiasco

It does seem similar in that it is shot in English and that what it tells is the story of love and desire of two men.

He decided that it would be in English, firstly because the western is an absolutely American genre and also because he wanted to exercise for when he makes his first feature in that language, something that is getting closer and closer.

“The two shorts -he says in reference to ‘The human voice’, with Tilda Swinton, and this ‘Strange way of life’, in addition to being two whims that I have been able to afford and that have given me great pleasure and great freedom to make them, they were also rehearsals to see how I moved on the tongue,” he said.

Because last year it was even announced that she would adapt the book “Cleaning Women’s Manual”, starring Cate Blanchett, but she got off the project because she “liked it big”, she assures without sentimentality.

“It was a great production, it was traveling a lot and I have limited mobility, I can’t tell when I walk, because I have back surgery and it was best not to make so many trips,” explains Almodóvar, who also specifies that the script for that film it is still yours.

Since then, as the specialized American press reported months ago, he has written another script, already finished, which takes place in New York.

“And this one is much more manageable, with few characters. They are basically two women, in an extreme situation and everyone is contemporary, you don’t have to make back rooms and that is very important to me, that all the props are affordable.”

They have already begun the process of locating and they have the actresses – “they have forbidden me to say the names,” he assures with a laugh – and he hopes not to turn back at the last moment. “I’ve already done it more than once and I’m going to look very bad,” she adds with a half smile.

In the meantime, he is enjoying the good reception of the short at Cannes, something that he was expecting before the first screening, despite not being in the competition.

And furthermore, he states convinced: “When it comes to naming the short, there is no better place to do it than at the Cannes Film Festival.”