Saint Laurent spearheads ‘Strange Way of Life,’ Pedro Almodóvar’s answer to ‘Brokeback Mountain’

The short film, starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, is set to premiere at Cannes, kickstarting the French house’s foray into the realm of cinema

Saint Laurent is headed for Cannes, flanked by Pedro Almodóvar on one side, and Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal on the other. The poster for the French house’s 30-minute Western, Strange Way of Life, is making its rounds this week, featuring the starring actors in staggered positions—guns drawn, wide-stanced—against a technicolor desertscape and a bright blue sky.

The film kicks off the launch of Saint Laurent Productions, the house’s latest subsidiary led by Anthony Vaccarello. “You can still see a film in 10 or 30 years, if it’s good,” the artistic director tells Variety. “In some ways, making a film can be more impactful than a seasonal collection.” Strange Way of Life is one part of a trio of Saint Laurent films set to premiere at the festival in May; additional projects with Paolo Sorrentino, David Cronenberg, Abel Ferrara, Wong Kar-wai, Jim Jarmusch, and Gaspar Noé are said to be in the works.

Almodóvar calls Strange Way of Life his “answer to Brokeback Mountain”—a film he was in talks to direct in the early-aughts, but ultimately turned down. “This is a queer Western in the sense that there are two men, and they love each other, and they behave in that situation in an opposite way,” the director hinted late last year. “What is has that most Westerns don’t… is the kind of dialogue [the genre hasn’t] ever captured between two men.”

“You can still see a film in 10 or 30 years, if it’s good. In some ways, making a film can be more impactful than a seasonal collection.”

The plot follows a pair of middle-aged ex-gunmen—Sheriff Jake (Hawke) and Silva (Pascal), a rancher—who reunite after 25 years under the guise of revisiting an old friendship. “It could have been anything that [Almodóvar] asked me to do, and I would have done it without question,” says Pascal. “[He] opened up an entire world of storytelling, color, culture, rebellion, and sexuality that was just absolutely intoxicating, dangerous, hilarious, heartbreaking, and encompassing the whole spectrum, but with such a signature style.”

The venture is the first official film production banner operated by a fashion house—an absolute convergence point for the worlds of film of fashion (with no branding involved, though Vaccarello plans to design all costumes). The legacy of Saint Laurent was “always linked to cinema,” he says. “These directors never fail to open my mind and, in a way, the singular, radical vision they bring to cinema has made me the person I am today.”