Matías Piñeiro | Argentina | 80
Argentine filmmaker Matías Piñeiro continues to explore the porous line between performance and daily ritual in his most visually striking film yet. As in such subtly magical dramas of the everyday as The Princess of France (NYFF52) and Hermia & Helena (NYFF54), Piñeiro uses a Shakespeare text to anchor a loose yet intellectually rigorous examination of life’s loves, labors, and futile pursuits, all played out with the minutest of gestures. Isabella uses Measure for Measure as inspiration, with regular Piñeiro players María Villar and Agustina Muñoz as Mariel, a teacher with stage aspirations, and Luciana, a more established actress. The filmmaker jumps around in time, from the days leading up to a crucial audition to years later, after the women have moved on to other dreams; meanwhile we keep returning to their collaboration on an entrancing, James Turrell–like light installation. Piñeiro’s art has never been more graceful or structurally complex as in this work of solace amid anxiety and doubt. A Cinema Guild Release.
The Human Voice
Pedro Almodóvar | Spain | 30
Tilda Swinton swallows up the screen as a woman traumatized by the end of a relationship in Pedro Almodóvar’s first English-language film. In 30 mesmerizing minutes, Swinton’s nameless character runs through a frightening gamut of emotions, from despair to fury to exhilaration, all while isolated in a luxurious apartment that’s also a stage set; her only companions are her ex-partner’s dog, Dash, and the betrayer’s unheard presence on the other end of her phone. Almodóvar used many of his frequent collaborators, including cinematographer José Luis Alcaine and composer Alberto Iglesias, for this impeccably designed yet combustible adaptation of Jean Cocteau’s 1930 play The Human Voice.