Why should a celebrated director with an extensive and acclaimed collection of films under his belt choose to shoot a short film? Perhaps it is something that might be defined in just one word: freedom. Freedom to not be constrained by the audience, by the number of viewers, by the box office receipts. And freedom to make the choices you want without having to adapt to the standards of commercial cinema as we know it. That could well be what led Pedro Almodóvar to immerse himself in and interpret and rework Cocteau’s text in "The Human Voice ". Such a unique and mature piece of work by the most influential Spanish filmmaker since Buñuel is more than worthy of opening of a festival that has made short film the star of its programming, instead of it being a mere filler or taking a backseat.
Rather than centring on its length, the critical response to the film has focussed on the artistic quality of the work by the auteur of 'Volver': '(...) a magnificent piece (...)', '(...) one of his most academic works, calculated despite the baroque style, infected with a dangerous and febrile perfection', '(...) what he does with space, the staging, the blurred frontier between fiction and reality, is masterful (…)', 'a luxuriant diversion and a bombastic exercise in style in conjunction with a superlative Swinton', 'Construction and destruction, artifice and naturalness, pretence and truth: forces that mould Almodóvar’s latest stroke of genius'.