Set against the dystopian backdrop of an abandoned shipyard, model Magda Laguinge transforms in the post-apocalyptic world of Casey Brooks’s new film ‘Magda & Her Cup of Tea’. Styled by Tati Cotliar, the film is a surrealistic take on tea ceremony rituals and charts Magda’s neurotic quest for perfection. Premiering exclusively on Dazed, here Brooks and Cotliar reveal the references behind the project and share a unique behind the scenes film.
Dazed Digital: How did the film come about?
Tati Cotliar: I’ve always liked freaks and neurotic individuals. The film is a story about a girl who’s so lonely that she has managed to turn her sadness into neurosis. She’s created a world where it's possible for her to become obsessed with the perfect position of teacups at her surrealist tea ceremony.
I imagined Magda as being shipwrecked – doomed to go insane, alone with her teacups
DD: Casey you also work as a photographer. How important is fashion film as a medium?
Casey Brooks: Film is still a relatively unexplored medium for fashion, but it holds endless possibilities. It has the opportunity to reach a new audience that print editorials cannot. A certain wall is being broken, which I think will engage eyes and minds on a whole new level. Not only are you able to explore the movement of a garment, which is otherwise only noted on the runway, but now the idea of an editorial has the opportunity to be expanded into a story. It can be revealed over time using new elements to set the mood, such as movement and music.
DD: Why did you choose an abandoned shipyard as the backdrop for the film?
Casey Brooks: Its shapes and textures were almost post-apocalyptic and provided a nice contrast to our story. I imagined Magda as being shipwrecked – doomed to go insane, alone with her teacups. The film is meant to be light, but we wanted the aesthetic to be a little darker and the ship graveyard achieved that.
Tati Cotliar: We really liked the idea of a tea ceremony, but we gave it a twist by converting the teacups into rough metal and they became almost destroyed objects. The surrealistic factor was given by all of these ships being half-sunken in a perfect diagonal way, much like Magda's twisted craziness.
DD: Tati, you've created this strong visual character through your choice in styling, how would you describe the girl in the film?
Tati Cotliar: To me, she is a sort of the perfect-imperfect woman. I thought of a mixture of all the qualities I like in a woman from cinematic characters – think of a Woody Allen woman, mixed with a Wes Anderson girl, mixed with Alice in Wonderland, mixed with a spoiled little girl (maybe Violet from Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and finally mixed with a mute German expressionist character who can only communicate and express herself through gesture. She is ultra smart but so neurotic that it turns her sadness and loneliness into obsessive repetition.