Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Strange Way of Life’ Sets October Theatrical Debut from Sony Classics

Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Strange Way of Life’ Sets October Theatrical Debut from Sony Classics

Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal’s queer cowboy love story will be coming to a theater near you soon.

The short film “Strange Way of Life,” written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in New York City and Los Angeles on October 4, followed by a nationwide release October 6. The short film will play alongside Almodóvar’s past 2020 short “The Human Voice” starring Tilda Swinton.

Both “The Human Voice” and “Strange Way of Life” are Almodóvar’s only English-language projects to date. Sony Pictures Classics acquired “Strange Way” in pre-production. MUBI took rights in Italy and Latin America out of Cannes, where the film premiered this past May.

Produced by Almodóvar’s El Deseo and presented by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello, the film co-stars Pedro Casablanc, Manu Ríos, George Steane, José Condessa, Jason Fernández, and Sara Sálamo. Four-time Oscar nominee and longtime Almodóvar collaborator Alberto Iglesias scored the film, with all characters costumed by luxury brand Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. 

“Strange Way of Life” follows two gunmen, played respectively by Pascal and Hawke, who reunite after many years apart. Twenty-five years earlier, both the sheriff (Hawke) and Silva (Pascal), 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 but to uncover something else.

The short film is produced by Pedro’s brother Agustín Almodóvar, with Esther García serving as the executive producer and Bárbara Peiró, Diego Pajuelo, and Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello as associate producers. 

IndieWire critic David Ehrlich applauded how Almodóvar “forces the Western to tailor itself for him” and his cinematic vision.

“All the genre tropes that squeeze their way into ‘Strange Way of Life,’ from milky white skylines to Mexican standoffs, serve the tempestuous and typically Almodóvar-ian emotions that burn inside its characters,” Ehrlich wrote, adding, “Almodóvar leaves most of the sex to our imaginations — what happens in the bedroom above the sheriff’s office stays in the bedroom above the sheriff’s office — but Hawke and Pascal still manage to squeeze more heat and tenderness into a single fade-to-black than ‘The Power of the Dog’ allowed for in its entirety. Besides, at this point, it might be a little prosaic for a transgressive queer trailblazer of Almodóvar’s stature to get off on the sight of two Hollywood stars enjoying a same-sex romp, even in Western drag.”

Sony Pictures Classics has released nearly all of Almodóvar’s recent features, including “Parallel Mothers” and “Pain and Glory.” Almodóvar will be honored at this year’s TIFF for his contributions to cinema.