Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Strange Way of Life’ Gets October Release

The Sony Pictures Classics short film received rave reviews at this year’s Cannes Film Festival

Strange Way of Life
Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal in "Strange Way of Life"

Pedro Almodóvar’s romantic Western short film “Strange Way of Life” will be getting an award-season rollout in October, Sony Pictures Classics announced today.

The short tells the story of two gunmen, played by Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, who reunite after many years. As the official synopsis says, “In the film, a man rides a horse across the desert that separates him from Bitter Creek. He comes to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, both the sheriff and Silva, the rancher who rides out to meet him, worked together as hired gunmen. Silva visits him with the excuse of reuniting with his friend from his youth, and they do indeed celebrate their meeting, but the next morning Sheriff Jake tells him that the reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their old friendship”

The short feature marks Almodóvar’s second English-language offering following the 2020 feature “The Human Voice” starring Tilda Swinton. In fact, when the short comes to theaters it will be paired with “The Human Voice.”

This film continues Almodóvar and Sony Pictures Classics relationship. The distributor has released much of Almodóvar’s work, including his most recent feature films, Parallel Mothers in 2021 and Pain and Glory in 2019, which received two Oscar nominations each.

Speaking previously on the Dua Lipa podcast, the filmmaker stated that “it’s a queer Western, in the sense that there are two men and they love each other. It’s about masculinity in a deep sense because the Western is a male genre.”

He continued, in sentiments that echoed his post-screening conversation on Wednesday, “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.”

The response to the film back when it premiered at Cannes was nothing short of rapturous. Desert Sun reporter Ema Sasic noted that it was the “melodramatic, quarreling lovers western you’ve always wanted.” The main criticism, if you can call it that, is that audiences, including Variety awards pundit Clayton Davis, wanted it to be even longer, perhaps expanded to a feature-length picture.

“Strange Way of Life” will debut in New York and Los Angeles on October 4, with a nationwide theatrical release on October 6.