WAKE UP! But you can’t, you’re trapped in a dream, no man’s land, in Painted Eyes. For some intents and purposes it’s a music video, but that would be a great disservice to the particular quality of Chanel No. 3 (Painted Eyes), the film short accompanying Hercules and Love Affair’s latest track of the same name.
Andy Butler of Hercules and Love Affair fame (which is some fame, as you know by now), contacted London based creative collective Untitled Associates to work together on the visuals for ‘Painted Eyes’, from the album Blue Songs; the result of which fuses fashion, film and music in sweet harmony. The three-piece collective compiled of two directors and one cinematographer met in London and shared ideas, inspirations and a near-death experience in a car crash in Brazil, before realising two minds are better than one, and three’s a dream team. With clothes by Haider Ackermann and hats by Nasir Mazhar, this short stars model Iekeliene Stange stuck in a plot, asleep and unable to break through to reality, kept unconscious by the Love Affair’s hypnotic beats. Here, one third of the pie, Chloë de Carvalho, tells i-D online how Untitled Associates came together and about their working processes for the film.
Tell us about your collective and how you came to make this film? Untitled Associates is made up of myself (Chloë de Carvalho), Mo Stoebe and Tobia Sempi. We are based in London. Andy Butler from Hercules And Love Affair got in touch after he saw the Microthol music video and sent us the track for Painted Eyes and we loved it. We wrote a treatment for it and he loved it too, so we made the film.
How did the three of you meet and how do you work together? Who does what? Myself and Mo are directors, Tobia is a cinematographer. We met here in London, started helping out and working on each other’s projects and became great friends. Then we were in a mad car crash in Brazil where we almost got flattened in my Beetle by a crazed BMW – that probably welded our fates together. We always ended up collaborating on each other’s work informally and then last year we decided to make it official and just join forces. We are stronger creatively together than we are apart. We each have our own interests and talents to bare and hope to blur the lines between cinematography, direction and motion graphics.
Nature plays a big part in the film with the wave motions and backdrops, what was the idea behind this? So the idea behind the film is this: there is a woman in a sleep/trance-like state. She is dreaming but she can’t wake up. The slow motion elements are her tossing and turning in this limbo. She meets a version of herself who guards the entrance into a world of dreamscapes, which she then enters through her third eye. She is able to create her own dreamscapes and open up new worlds. We wanted the creation of the worlds to focus on natural elements so we have seas, waterfalls, mountains and canyons.
Why did you cast Iekeliene Stange? When we sent Jason Farrer (our stylist on the film) the treatment he immediately suggested Iekeliene and he was right: she was the perfect match for the script. We were looking for an ethereal beauty, someone who could carry the otherworldy, mystical elements. We also wanted someone versatile and strong, who could be three different characters with very distinct looks. We were so lucky to have Iekeliene on this – she is super lovely and an absolute pleasure to work with. Actually when we met her the first time to talk about the film we showed her some reference images and she was like “hey that’s me” – we hadn’t even realised she was one of our original references! We took that as a good omen.
What were your inspirations in making the film? The track, first of all. There is this odd, very distinct, dreamy quality to it – and then some images stuck out at us from the lyrics “born at night/ solitude/ saw forever” … Eyes… got us thinking about third eyes… about entering a dreamscape through your third eye… about the fantastical. One specific inspiration for the ´dreamscapes´ in the video were the amazing worlds Leif Podharsky creates in his illustrations. We were wondering what would happen – if it was possible to actually enter a strange dreamworld like an endless canyon of waterfalls and what this would look like in video.
How do you interpret a song into something visual? I don’t think music videos need to be literal to the track – I think the best music videos add something new instead of underlining. We take the feeling the track gives us as the starting point and talk about stuff together until we’ve come up with images we all like and that click with the track in our minds.
When did you first come across Hercules and Love Affair? We’d been listening to them for a while. I went gone to see a great show of theirs at Village Underground in London in January.
Do you believe fashion film and film shorts should have a narrative? No, not really. But we do always have a narrative in our heads, even if we choose not to have an explicit storyline in this one, it is for us. Sometimes creating a particular sense, or quality, or atmosphere and letting the images breathe is more interesting.
For full credits click here.
Film: Untitled Associates