The director behind the new Women’s Tales installment on the fine line between fashion and film
Last night, Miu Miu played host to an array of fashion industry insiders for the world premiere of De Djess – the most recent addition to the label’s Women’s Tales series of short films by today’s most distinctive female filmmakers. This 10-minute film, written and directed by recent Cannes Grand Prix-winning director Alice Rohrwacher, immediately centres around a piece from the SS15 collection: dress “Number 328”. The plot follows a number of dresses as they wash ashore and find a new life as celebrities, complete with invasive paparazzi, in an unnamed local hotel run by entrepreneurial nuns. On the eve of the film’s debut, Rohrwacher sat down with us to discuss her collaboration with Miu Miu, the role of technology in our daily lives and the questions she hoped to pose with this particular project.
How did the collaboration with Miu Miu come about?
Alice Rohrwacher: You have to ask them! I can just tell you my part. The team from Miu Miu followed me during Cannes and then, when I was on the jury for the Venice Film Festival, they approached me and asked if I would like to do the next video.
You accepted, obviously, but you wanted to do it even though you are working on another full-length film?
Alice Rohrwacher: Yes, I was very curious. In fact, I remember I was in the Hotel Excelsior at the time and so, we decided we would film De Djess there – in the same place where they asked me to come onboard and make the film.
Are you particularly interested in fashion? Is that why you wanted to be involved in this project?
Alice Rohrwacher: I am, but I am most interested in fashion as a concentration of the times. I love working in film because I am always asking myself: how can I work with fashion? because it is reflective of the age. It is one of the elements that is so reflective of the current time in which we are living. Also, when you present a film, there is always the red carpet aspect, so that is something I take into consideration. It’s a really nice connection, especially because you don’t necessarily know what came first – whether fashion influenced film or film influenced fashion. It is like: what came first, the chicken or the egg? That connection is very interesting to me.
You’ve said you’re interested in posing questions for the viewers, as opposed to giving them answers. Did you have the same mentality in terms of approaching De Djess?
Alice Rohrwacher: Well, this project is a bit of a different case because it isn’t one of my longer films. This is a project where I wanted to do things completely differently. It is a project where I really wanted to experiment. Usually, it is the action that guides the camera in my films, but in this case, it was the camera that guided the action. This was very much the opposite of what I am accustomed to doing. Also, I have never done a short film before. The films I make always have a part of me, and so, one of the questions I posed here is how much beauty can you capture? And to what extent is it possible to capture beauty?
“You don’t necessarily know what came first – whether fashion influenced film or film influenced fashion. That connection is very interesting to me.” – Alice Rohrwacher
So, you were asking how much beauty can you capture on film?
Alice Rohrwacher: Or whether it is possible to capture beauty at all. In the film the photographers are able to capture so many things on camera but at the end of the film, they are not able to capture the maid dressed up in one of the dresses. They are not able to photograph her, suggesting that there is something we cannot capture. It’s an ironic nod or smile at the digital world that only works when the batteries are charged because at the end of the film, the batteries in the photographers’ cameras run out.
So much of the film seems to center on the role that technology plays in our every day lives. Are you very active in, say, social media and things like that?
Alice Rohrwacher: No. I allow myself to refrain from having those things. It is a luxury to not have them. However, I’m curious about them and I think about it and it’s something I have observed, as you can tell from the film.
What made Dress “Number 328” – the dress upon which the film is based – so special?
Alice Rohrwacher: It is a dress that blossoms. It hadn’t already blossomed. Also, the dress and clothes in general, are what lies closest to our bodies.
Do you think fashion has always played such a significant role in your approach to film making?
Alice Rohrwacher: I think I have always paid attention to fashion. Every element of a film is important, so you can imagine how important costumes are.
Then what about the music?
Alice Rohrwacher: Ah, yes. The music is by a group called The Cleaning Women. I love them. It’s a group from Lapland. I was at the Midnight Sun Film Festival and they were playing there during a Charlie Chaplin silent film, and I just really liked them.
Will we see you wearing Prada or Miu Miu on the red carpet anytime soon?
Alice Rohrwacher: Ha, it’s going to be a little while! I’m busy writing my next film.
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