August, 30, Venezia, Sala Darsena – Fashion label Miu Miu is not only famous for a great taste and style. Nope. They also support great femal artists. Miu Miu’s acclaimed series of short films, the Women’s Tales, just screened together for the first time as part of the Venice Film Festival’s Giornate degli Autori – Venice Days. We have the pleasure to present all 4 short films to you. Enjoy!
The short films, by four leading international female directors, show how the Miu Miu short film platform has managed to combine credible filmmaking themes and a strong feminine point of view with fashion.
The four films in the series are: The Powder Room, directed by Zoe Cassavetes; Muta, directed by Lucrecia Martel; The Woman Dress, directed by Giada Colagrande and It’s Getting Late, directed by Massy Tadjedin.
Some of the leading stars of contemporary cinema including Gemma Arterton, Patricia, Clarkson, Aubrey Plaza, Rinko Kikuchi and Maya Sansa lead the all-female casts, and soundtracks are scored by some of music’s finest new talents including Au Revoir Simone and Zola Jesus. The diverse films, set in LA, London, a witches’ cavern and a mysterious ship, explore feminine rituals, codes and gestures, each touching on the theme of being a woman. Each director applies their distinctive point of view through their particular filmic style, with elements of melodrama, surrealism and film noir reflecting the world of Miu Miu in multifarious dimensions.
Highlights from the Miu Miu collections take leading roles too – sunglasses, accessories, and key looks from the ready-to-wear collections are all beautifully showcased – but also perform as important plot devices, central to the narratives.
Following the wide success of the first four films, Miu Miu will continue to commission further Women’s Tales films into the future, details to be released soon. All four films from the first chapter of the project can be viewed on a dedicated area of the Miu Miu site, alongside exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, now.
The Powder Room is the first in a series of short films The Miu Miu Women’s Tales directed by distinctive female filmmakers with different intellectual background, which explore the femininity by the cinema. Zoe Cassavetes is the filmmaker of The Powder Room, an enchanting and dramatic short film set in London’s Claridges hotel. As its name suggests, the piece takes us into an ultra-feminine environment where gestures between women are traded in a ritual of opulent beauty. In this world Cassavetes uses the romantic codes of the powder room to mirror the beauty and luxury of the Miu Miu universe.
“I love the idea of a powder room, the ritual which takes place within them is very important for women,” explains Cassavetes. “There’s something special about preparing yourself, a moment before the action takes place. I love the sense of intimacy. It’s a place away from men, where you can check out other women, and re-glamorize yourself ready to face the world again.” Cassavetes brings her eye for capturing the essence of femininity to the film, which layers multiple close ups of subtle glances and abstract details to create a mysterious narrative mosaic. “The story is about women and their private moments”, says Cassavetes, “so it’s allowed to be free and dreamy… the dreamy part was the most fun. And the glamour.”
Audrey Marnay stars as a captivating femme fatale who plays provocatively within the private and reflective environment of the powder room. When other glamorous girls played by models Caroline de Maigret, Line Gost and Sophie Vlaming enter, the powerful unspoken codes of the powder room are unfold within a sensual dream-like tale.
The second in a series of short films The Miu Miu Women’s Tales exploring the feminine love affair with Miu Miu is a contemporary film noir with a mysterious transformation at its heart. MUTA, meaning both “mute” and “transformation”, is a beautiful and cryptic portrayal of an all female world of symbolism, hidden meaning and intrigue.
Directed by Argentinean Lucrecia Martel, one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in contemporary world cinema, the surreal narrative is set onboard a ship anchored in a tropical sea. As dawn lifts and electrics buzz and flicker to life an elegant crew of beautiful and exquisitely attired female creatures emerge insect-like from portals, their faces obscured from view.
The beings sashay in long-sleeved dresses in coral, black and mink, sequined with birds and flora. The 40s silhouettes recalling Hollywood’s legendary femme fatales Jane Greer and Lauren Bacall are cowl-backed, collared or drop-waisted, demurely cut below the knee. Cross-clasped purses in chestnut fur or suede come to life expectantly. Beneath their tortoiseshell shades false lashes flutter, and a new private language is revealed, a morse-code of clicks and vibrations. Entombed aboard this luxury modernist boat, the female chrysalides prepare for their strange metamorphosis.
Martel’s singular film is a mesmerizing personal reflection on the transformative power of femininity at the heart of the Miu Miu obsession.
The Woman Dress is the third in a series of short films – The Miu Miu Women’s Tales – by distinctive female filmmakers exploring women’s love affair with Miu Miu. The film stars Italian actress Maya Sansa and is set to a haunting soundtrack, written especially for the film by electronic pop trio Au Revoir Simone.
Following The Powder Room – Zoe Cassavetes’ dreamy story of opulence and glamour, and MUTA – Lucrecia Martel’s film noir filled with mutant fashion divas – The Woman Dress is again set in an all female world of glamour and desire. But this time fashion obsession is taken to its most extreme conclusion, in a metaphysical tale of transcendence and ritual.
A coven of elegant witches attends a bubbling cauldron, their shadowy cavern hung with the ghosts of dresses. Maya Sansa is undressed and led to a bath, and her finger pricked to draw blood. The witches – played by Heather D’Angelo, Erika Forster and Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone – circle, chanting in strange tongues. As the smoke clears we see Maya Sansa has made the ultimate sacrifice, transforming herself into the object of her desire – a beautiful blood red dress.
The film, featuring key dresses from Miu Miu, draws on a surreal cinematic language, with its red velvet curtain, reverse-speak and dreamlike mise-en-scène. “My mother was a feminist, I grew up in an environment of women and I make movies about women” – says Giada Colagrande – “so when I was approached to make this film, all about femininity, it was heaven for me. Cinema is a powerful way to bring fashion to another dimension: you can take a single image, like a dress, and create a whole world around it.”
In the translucent LA dusk we discover four women living very different lives – a high-flying professional in her elegant glass office, a mother bathing her daughter, a chic blogger with her laptop and a film editor working with old movie clips in a screening room. The camera follows each as they wind down their working days, their four stories weaving together as each prepares for their evening.
It’s Getting Late is the fourth film in a series of short films, The Miu Miu Women’s Tales, by leading female directors. Each film explores the feminine love affair with Miu Miu through the lens of their diverse sensibilities. It’s Getting Late is an entrancing study of the ritual of getting ready, shot by Iranian-American screenwriter and director, Massy Tadjedin, with a stellar international cast including Gemma Arterton, Patricia Clarkson, Rinko Kikuchi and Aubrey Plaza, culminating in a gripping cameo performance by rising songstress, Zola Jesus.
Tadjedin, whose directorial debut starred Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes, was inspired by the common passage of physical and spiritual transformation when moving between the spheres of day and night. “Miu Miu is a distinctly feminine brand and one distinctively feminine ritual we all still make time for is getting ready. We make our faces, our suits, our selves just a little more ready for wherever it is we’re going. Fashion is never just the clothes. It’s our mood, our excitement for something, our expectations, our attitudes, our outlooks. Managing those is often what getting ready is all about and that’s what our short tries to capture.” Massy Tadjedin
The four women quietly take part in their private acts of preparation, delicately slipping a silk blouse from its tissue, stepping into high heels, applying make up, zipping up a dress. But the transformation is also psychological, as they take stock of the day and mentally prepare for the evening ahead. A fifth woman, Zola Jesus, is the calm counterpoint, sitting quietly in her changing room at a famous club, ironically the only woman not changing at all. She will be the thread that binds the women together, when in the final scenes they arrive one by one, all by different means, at her electrifying performance – suggesting perhaps they have more in common than we might have believed.
Zoe Cassavetes (in Miu Miu), Lucrecia Martel (in Miu Miu), Giada Colagrande (in Miu Miu), Massy Tadjedin (in Prada), Naomi Watts (in Prada), Liev Schreiber (in Prada), Willem Dafoe (in Prada), Maya Sansa (in Miu Miu), Florence Welch (in Miu Miu), Agnes Varda, Luciana Castellina, Stefano Tonchi, Susanne Bier, Jesper Winge Leisner, Andrea Occhipinti, Enzo D’Alò, Maricla Affatato, Marco Alemanno, Beppe Fiorello, Dorotea Mercuri (in Prada), Franceso Vezzoli, Shala Monroque, Giorgio Gosetti, Liliana Cavani, Lita Stantic, Marina Cicogna, Mira Nair, Rina Zavagni, Lorenzo Mattotti, Germano Celant, Roberto Barzanti, Ryan T and more…
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