Talk to Her (original title: Habla con Ella) is without any doubt the film by Pedro Almodovar which has touched me the most. Perhaps it is just because that’s the only one I had the chance to see in a cinema. Beyond the great genius of Almodóvar, a scene particularly moved me: the first one.
The curtain opens on a stage randomly strewn with black bistro tables and chairs. Amid this gloomy scene, two women in gowns quietly wander, eyes closed, a strange expression on their faces. Why strange? It is a kind of mixture between sadness, loneliness and pain. Their movements are slow, soft, and then rapid and violent. They crash against a wall, bounce and dash towards the other end of the stage, always with that hint of inhumanity, like rubber zombies. And what about this man in the middle, who undergoes these unpredictable whims. He is sad, panicked, his hair tousled. He watches every move and violently pushes tables and chairs out of the way. The whole environment seems to confront the power and vagaries of emotions to our inability to control them.
I could not explain what I felt or what I still feel when watching this scene but it deeply moves me, it is inexplicable but it makes well-known emotions echo under my skin. It’s the magic of art in its greatness I suppose …
The scene in question is actually taken from the show Café Müller of the German choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009). This is one of her masterpieces where she restranscribed the loneliness which accompanied her childhood in the hotel bar of her parents.
While the artist did not usually wish to have her performances recorded, there have been a few exceptions and it is, by chance, the case for Café Müller. Here are excerpts from the choreography (different from those in Talk to Her), punctuated by a few words of Pina.