miu miu's wonderfully wacky new short is an ode to free spirits
For the eleventh installment of its female-led 'Women’s Tales' film series, Miu Miu premiered a lyrical short by Japanese director Naomi Kawase in New York last night.
"Wacky" is one of the few words spoken in award-winning director Naomi Kawase's latest project. And it feels like just the right one to describe a film commissioned by Miu Miu. Kawase — whose most recent movie, An, centers on the transformative power of traditional Japanese bean pancakes — has a taste for the poetically off-beat. Which makes her a perfect candidate for Miu Miu's Women's Tales, an ongoing series of collaborations between the brand and some of the world's most esteemed female filmmakers. (Previous directors include Alice Rohrwacher, Agnès Varda, Miranda July, and Ava DuVernay.)
Screened in New York's West Village last night, "Seed" is a nine-minute ode to free spiritedness. It follows a fairy-like girl (played by Japanese actress Sakura Ando) as she travels from the rural town of Nara (Kawase's own hometown) to the bustling streets of Shinjuku in Tokyo, via a series of exchanges. As the girl executes wild backbends (captured in sections of captivating, creaky stop-motion) in the forests and hills of Nara, she's spotted by a boy who gives her an apple, which she then swaps for a sheer piece of cloth from an old man. "I wanted the character in my film to gain something which motivates her to start something or change herself," explains Kawase. "Through these exchanges, I tried to show the human exchange of hearts."
The director says she sensed Miu Miu "suggested the way of living for women." And her film translates the brand's life force — both playful and a little provocative — perfectly onto the screen. "A lot of times in my films," Kawase says, "I tend to leave a lot of choices to the actors. It doesn't mean I'm not directing them, but rather I treasure what actors bring to the table."
Miu Miu too knows the power of female actresses. Present in the audience were a cast of emerging stars — including India Menuez, Tessa Thompson, Zosia Mamet, and Emily Ratajkowski — all dressed in the brand's spring/summer 16 collection. Beyond a premiere for a wonderfully whimsical new film, the event was a celebration of women in the film industry. Kawase says she hopes her participation helps in "encouraging other female film directors to emerge."
Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Images courtesy Miu Miu