Rabbit Hole is the first real foray into film by Icelandic designer and artist Mundi Vondi. Despite the fact the film features his outlandish and colourful designs, and premiered at Paris Fashion Week, Vondi is keen that his short is not misunderstood as a fashion film. in fact, Rabbit Hole is an enticingly surreal fable in the vein of Terry Gilliam and Alejandro Jodorowsky that features a young girl traversing a beautiful terrain full of strange and bizarre creatures. Set in an undefined future, or maybe past, the film evokes something of Luc Besson's early work The Last Battle, melded with a touch of the visual absurdity of Spike Milligan's post-apocalyptic classic The Bed-Sitting Room. Here, the first-time director tells us why he's interested in liquid clocks, creating puzzles and keeping it surreal.
Dazed Digital: What inspired Rabbit Hole? Are there any surrealist directors you particularly admire?
Mundi Vondi: Rabbit Hole is about a small witch travelling around the highlands working on the most important quest of her life, and to get the job done she must put everything on the line... MUHAHAHAHAHAHA. The story happens in a very different time than ours, maybe a million years before, or a million years after, where values are as different as the beings that of this strange world. I like directors that push the limits of our understanding, such as Takashi Miike and David Lynch, and I love it when riddles are placed around the film for the audience to solve – when you create a riddle the answers must lie within the riddle itself, like a sudoku or a labyrinth.
DD: In making this film, were you coming from a more artistic angle than a fashion-orientated one?
Mundi Vondi: I’m definitely approaching it from a more artistic angle. If you focus too much on the fashion, the main subject falls apart. I only look at fashion in terms of extreme costumes that help to create the characters. If you are making a film it has to be more focused on a story, a character, a plot... I think in some cases 'fashion films' are nothing more then a long dramatic commercial. They come to life when a lost photographer realises his new canon 5D Mark II has a video option, so instead of taking photos he makes a terrible video of skinny models jumping around in slow-motion!
DD: How inspired by myth and fairytale are you?
Mundi Vondi: I love fairytales, especially the horrific ones with bad endings, like the real HC Andersen stories. What Disney has made of them is a fake lie for children, but I think they would be much better off hearing the real ones. There are a lot of old Icelandic stories and legends that are great. I recommend everyone reads them, you will get inspired by those cold and dark tales.
DD: There seems to be an element of the late 16th century painter Hieronymous Bosch in the film...
Mundi Vondi: It’s funny you should say that because I've been very inspired by his work for a long time. In my drawings, you can sometimes really see that. I guess I'm permanently influenced by him. I also love Dali with his liquid clocks and and long-legged elephants – no one can say that's not the shit.
DD: What was the most fun you had on set? The guy on the horse looks like he is in a pretty uncomfortable position...
Mundi Vondi: BAHAHAHAHA you are very right! He was like that for more than an hour, with a balloon strapped around his face crushing his nose in towards his brain. I can't say that was the most fun though… seeing the poor man suffering n'all, but he still remains one of the coolest characters in the film. We had a lot of great times shooting in the highlands – we had no cellphone connection and no internet, so we became very needy of each others social attention. In the end, we had become a family with no secrets, only love for one another. Then it all turned into a beautiful orgy where our bodies were joined into one... but I'll tell you more about that in private!