matt lambert on friendship, intimacy and sexuality
As i-D premieres 'The Feeling,' we daydream about the promise of hot summer days and never-ending nights with director Matt Lambert.
As Matt Lambert draws on personal experience, invites viewers into dark corners and lifts bed sheets, the work of the Berlin-based filmmaker and photographer reflects real intimacy and relationships whilst capturing the raw energy of youth and the fluidity of modern sexuality. For moments at least, voyeurs become part of his world with secrets shared, whispers heard and mysteries revealed. Losing ourselves in his ode to summer, we catch up with Matt to share hazy memories of our favorite season and look to the future of love, sex and intimacy.
Could you introduce The Feeling in a sentence or two.
It's an anthem of the monotony of growing up in Southern California, the friendships that build when idling together and an ode to the hedonism of those mornings you party until the next day and don't give a fuck about it because of who you're with.
Where was it shot?
It was shot at a house deep in Northridge — one of the many suburbs of the San Fernando Valley where I used to spend a lot of time going to house parties in high school.
How did you cast it?
A couple were friends of mine and the rest were friends of a friend of mine in LA whom I'd been working with on my TV series.
Did it evoke memories of your LA childhood?
My childhood wasn't quite as wholesome, haha! However, it's that essence of camaraderie through boredom that most all kids growing up there can relate to. It's can be depressing and confining, but also lead to magical moments.
What's the best party you can can remember?
There's a party called GEGEN in Berlin which is probably one the most magical party environments I've ever seen. There was also a weekly party in Berlin called PORK that would suck you in and you'd walk out at 8 in the morning feeling like only an hour had passed.
When was the last time you partied through to the sunrise?
It's pretty standard in Berlin, but I think the last best one was at one of those parties.
Crossing countries and blurring boundaries, your lens frequently focuses on young love, intimacy and friendships. How do you think each are changing today?
Digital spaces have created a revolution in how we relate to each other intimately. Though there's a lot to be said about the corrosion of IRL communication, there's something magical that exists in these virtual spaces we spend so much time in. Especially when it comes to sexuality, there's a space where people can explore and grow, define and refine themselves and hopefully take that energy into the real world.
What do you think is the future of love, sex and intimacy?
People are finding more specific voices, tastes, scenes, etc. International, borderless tribes open doors for people to be exactly who they want to be.
What excites you about tomorrow?
A continued revolution that allows EVERYONE to be comfortable and happy and free to love in the skin they're in. It's been a productive past few years, but there's still a long way to go.
I'm releasing my first photography book today with a launch event in Berlin and I'll be in London next week to launch it on Thursday the 21st. I'm also currently writing and directing a TV series based around youth, love and sex.
How long has KEIM been in your mind?
I'd never considering doing a book and have only been taking photos seriously for about four years or so as filmmaking was always my focus. However, when I moved to Berlin I started taking photos compulsively and then I was introduced to Pogo Books who were really enthusiastic about my work. That was a year ago and it's been a slow burn of editing and collaborating with Pogo and Studio Yukiko who designed the book until now.
Translated from German, KEIM means germ/seed. What or who planted the seed for your first book?
It started with me moving to Berlin and deciding to integrate my own intimacy into my work. It was meeting my boyfriend, now husband, who got to me stop worrying about pulling punches and to be more honest in my films and photos. This book is an uncensored archive of my first three years in Berlin and the beginning of everything for me creatively. It represents the energy seems to feed into all the projects I'm doing now.
What would you like to see grow from the seeds planted in KEIM? How would would like readers to react/be inspired by it?
I hope people see beyond its explicit moments and see it as a celebration of intimacy.
Text Steve Salter
Film Stills from The Feeling