The Voice Thief (2013)

  |  Short, Fantasy, Mystery


The Voice Thief (2013) Poster

When an opera singer loses her voice, her husband embarks on an odyssey through Miami's dark underworld to recover it through supernatural means.

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26 July 2014 | Bunuel1976
6
| THE VOICE THIEF {Short} (Adan Jodorowsky, 2013) **1/2
This year's "Kinemastik Short Film Festival" – a yearly event organized over here in Malta now in its tenth edition – screened this second directorial effort from Alejandro Jodorowsky's youngest son Adan (actually the frontman of a band named Adanowsky) at an open-air venue. A local film-buff friend of mine – whom I knew to be a much bigger fan of the elder Chilean artist than myself – proposed that I attend with my twin brother and we readily accepted…especially in view of the fact that the 35-year old director would be in attendance and the event was being followed by the screening of his father's latest opus, THE DANCE OF REALITY (2013)!

As it happens, Alejandro wrote the story (adapted by Adan himself) that inspired the 22-minute short under review and his influence – both visually and thematically – is all over THE VOICE THIEF. The simple plot focuses on a failed opera singer (Asia Argento) who loses her voice following an attempted strangulation by her husband (Cristobal Jodorowsky) and the latter's efforts to rekindle the former's career by stealing the vocal chords of a disparate array of singers he meets during his nightly Parisian strolls. Apart from SANTA SANGRE (1989; unsurprising due to the Argento connection), the narrative reminds one of Georges Franju's masterpiece EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1960; which itself spawned countless imitations over the years) and, in two early sequences – where Cristobal (surrounded by a clutch of naked blonde critics animatedly scribbling their reviews!) is the only one applauding at his wife's disastrous debut and the openly hostile couple are seated at the opposite ends of a long dinner-table – even Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE (1941)!

I guess it would not be a Jodorowsky film without midgets, transvestites and mystics and, indeed, the three victims picked up by Cristobal during the course of the film come in those very varieties. Likewise, the assorted grotesqueries on display here are par for the course: the husband sodomizes a male dwarf while in the guise of a little girl and asks 'her' to sing for him as he does so in the presence of the latter's blind grandmother!; a burly, cross-dressing baritone singer is first introduced taking a massive urinary leak in public!!; finally, Cristobal comes across a sweaty crowd leering at a saintly young female singer dressed up in the Madonna's garb who repays their admiration by offering her holy urine to drink!!! The twist in the tale is that Asia also takes on the appearance of her victims after inhaling their vocal chords from the jar her husband carries around with him. At the end of the film, we see a crowd of people kneeling in adoration inside a church dedicated to the embalmed forms of Argento and Jodorowsky! As if what was actually happening in the story was not weird enough, we are also regaled with Symbolism in the form of images showing Asia giving birth to a slithering snake and a sheep (standing-in for Argento, as Adan helpfully explained in the subsequent Q&A session) mounting a man!!

Actually, in the build-up to the main event, I had just watched Adan's previous short film ECHEK (2000) – an amusing 4-minute piece about a macho man's efforts to impress a female casual acquaintance by trying to topple the Eiffel tower down and the opposition he encounters from the local cognoscenti! – on "You Tube" (it is also included in the Anchor Bay UK of SANTA SANGRE, which I do not own).

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Short | Fantasy | Mystery

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