MIU MIU @ Women's Tale Series #7

MIU MIU Women’s Tales is an ongoing series of singular, short films, commissioned by Miu Miu, and directed by today’s most distinctive female filmmakers. They invent exquisite worlds sometimes beautiful, often strange populated by women’s idiosyncratic imaginations. The seven films so far belong to seven cinematic universes.

How do women appear to themselves? How do they appear to each other? Isn’t appearance always a political and intellectual issue, one that can’t easily be divorced from sensuality and pleasure? How, ultimately, should a woman be? Women’s Tales has asked filmmakers to critically celebrate femininity in the 21st century. This means embracing the complexities and contradictions, old and new, to make women think and feel.

Across the films, alongside noted actresses and models, Miu Miu collections have become a cast of characters in their own right. They accentuate and counterpoint the narrative drama. Power, desire. Vanity, adornment. Rituals, rules. Dreams, nightmares. Even the smallest moments from a woman’s daily life can contain multitudes. Women’s Tales storify these moments and the role that clothes play.

The latest series #7 themed <Spark and Light> directed by So Yong Kim, launched February 2014 marks the seventh commission from Miu Miu Women’s Tales, the acclaimed short-film series by women who critically celebrate femininity in the 21st century. This latest addition to Women’s Tales is redolent of So Yong Kim’s previous features such as For Ellen, Treeless Mountain and In Between Days, which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. “I’ve always been obsessed with family dynamics,” says the Korean born American writer and director, “I’m always trying to develop my understanding of that.”

In the new film, we see this take the shape of a mother divided in two: one unconscious on a hospital bed; the other vibrantly alive surrounded by love. Riley Keough’s acute performance as Elizabeth paired with the poetic isolation of Iceland effectively multiplies the size of this dream-like story. It adds new intellectual and emotional colour to the Miu Miu Women’s Tales series: that twilight space between childhood, adulthood and mortality.

“Mom’s stable, asleep. Drive safe! Xoxo Dad.”
Soon after Elizabeth receives this text message, her mother isn’t the only one lost in sleep. Elizabeth’s car has broken down. It’s freezing cold, no sign of life nearby. She just has to wait, patiently. The recovery guys will be here soon, Elizabeth. Till then, she warms her young hands on the vents, drifts into a strange slumber, followed by an even more surreal awakening. Icelandic landscapes merge with Elizabeth’s memories. Fears are magically transformed into comforting and fantastical fabrics. Father, upstairs, alone.

So Yong Kim has also found an imaginative new way of casting the Miu Miu SS2014 collection. The walls of the house where Elizabeth seeks refuge are lined with the same printed fabrics worn by her ghost mother and friends. Birds, faces, cats in neo-Chinoiserie. They become, in So Yong Kim’s words, “a recurring symbol of safety and love.” Cinema here, draws a line between clothes, bodies and a longing unconscious. “The fashion becomes part of the characters,” says So Yong Kim, “it was a great evolution for me.”

The other Women’s Tales are: The Powder Room, directed by Zoe Cassavetes; Muta, directed by Lucrecia Martel; The Woman Dress, directed by Giada Colagrande; It’s Getting Late, directed by Massy Tadjedin; The Door, directed by Ava DuVernay; and Le Donne Della Vucciria, directed by Hiam Abbass. Women’s Tales have premiered at the Venice Film Festival’s Giornate degli Autori program in 2012 and 2013. The entire archive can be viewed on a dedicated area of the Miu Miu website, alongside exclusive interviews with the directors and behind-the-scenes footage.

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