<< Go to Spanish version


STRANGE WAY OF LIFE by Pedro Almodóvar, a queer lovers' western

"Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is the closest Hollywood has come to telling a story about two men who love each other and speak openly about it, but the lovers in Ang Lee's film are shepherds. I don't include the film in the western genre."

Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, the short film "Strange Way of Life," starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, premieres at the Cannes Film Festival.

This is a story written in the style of a western, a genre that, according to Almodóvar, has silenced queerness.

Set in 1910, Silva (Pedro Pascal) is a man preparing to cross the desert on horseback to visit his friend, Sheriff Jake, whom he hasn't seen in 25 years when they worked together as hired gunslingers. His mission is to intercede for a son, but the encounter revives old times and leads to a night of abundance and passion that dissipates the next morning with Jake's cold attitude, sparking a discussion between former lovers.

Almodóvar developed this new film based on the characters' discussion the following morning, with the intention of giving voice to these two mature and queer men who have traditionally remained silent in a genre like the western. Although there are references to gay characters in these Western films, they usually do not openly discuss their relationships.

"Strange Way of Life" was filmed in the Tabernas Desert in Almería, in a settlement known as "Western Leone," a location chosen by the Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone for several of his movies. It has also been used in many other classics such as "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "A Fistful of Dollars," "Cleopatra," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Conan the Barbarian," and even one of the "Indiana Jones" installments, which was recently put up for sale by its current owners. The location was named the "Treasure of European Film Culture" in 2020 by the European Film Academy. Almodóvar comments, "The passage of time, over fifty years, has given authenticity to the place, which is now dusty and old. The artificial image of what was a film set fifty years ago, built a few weeks before shooting, has disappeared."

And since Pedro's films are not just stories but also filled with many details, the Spanish director has referenced the films of this genre from the period between 1900 and 1915 for the costumes of his characters. "Vera Cruz" (Robert Aldrich), "Last Train from Gun Hill" (John Sturges), and "El Dorado" (Howard Hawks) are among the films considered.

The premiere of the short film will take place tomorrow at the Cannes Film Festival, with a meeting with the director. The film is presented in the "Special Exhibitions" section. It will be released in Latin America through MUBI.

<< Go to Spanish version