While a dedicated but very loud percentage of Twitter swiped at each other all yesterday afternoon about the results of Sight & Sound’s “Greatest Films of All Time” poll, little did those cinephiles know that something even bigger was on the horizon. I’m not talking about filmmaker James Gray’s episode of WTF with Marc Maron, but instead a release far more unexpected and surprising, perhaps the most “it’s Friday!” podcast episode of all time. Yes, that would be Pedro Almodóvar on Dua Lipa: At Your Service.
I am always learning things about pop star Dua Lipa, to which I have to give her credit. For instance, I knew that she has a newsletter, but I did not know she has a podcast, and I also did not know that this is the second season of that podcast. The first season featured guests like Megan Thee Stallion and Hanya Yanagihara. Season two of Dua Lipa: At Your Service boasts not only Almodóvar, but also guests like Monica Lewinsky and Charli XCX.
“Simply put, Pedro Almodóvar is one of the world’s best directors. Pedro’s movies are camp, but emotionally resonant; glossy, but powerful; queer and comedic but grounded and tragic,” Dua introduces the the renowned filmmaker in between ads for podcasts that no one has heard of. Dua — that’s so true. She greets Almodóvar in Spanish, which she tells us she’s been learning, but also “don’t @ her” if her pronunciation is bad. Her Spanish pronunciation is actually very good; in her language studies, as with all of her ventures, she appears to be annoyingly diligent.
The conversation that follows is astute and friendly, with Dua asking Almodóvar about the early years of his filmmaking after the fall of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s rule. The pop star and the director have a gentle rapport, laughing and curious. The whole thing lends credence to the idea of “Dua Lipa as cultural arbiter,” a notion that had long smacked of “Kaia Gerber book club” to me. Listening to Dua Lipa: At Your Service, however, it’s clear that Dua does not feign any kind of intellectual fortitude so much as display a profound cultural appetite. She is watching and reading and listening, and she is eager to learn more. I don’t make this recommendation lightly, but Dua, if you’re reading this, you should go to grad school. Trust me, it won’t ruin your life.
Perhaps the greatest twist of the episode is that Almodóvar once instructed an actress in Parallel Mothers to emulate Dua in a modeling shoot. “I’ve got quite hot!” she confesses. That the “left foot, right foot, levitating” songstress had even the smallest role to play in Almodóvar’s work is clearly humbling for her. It’s an otherwise pleasant and interesting conversation (Dua soft-pitching herself for a future Almodóvar film notwithstanding), although perhaps redundant for the diehard Almodóvar fans out there. But such a legendary meeting of the minds, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Almodóvar and Almodóvar film regular Rossy de Palma met Rosalía, usually only comes around once in a lifetime. That we are all alive to bear witness to this moment is, to borrow a turn of phrase, enough to “blow your mind (mwah).”