Ava DuVernay presents The Door, her short film for Miu Miu’s increasingly powerful Women’s Tales.
Following the news that Prada and Miu Miu are behind the costumes for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, Miu Miu continue surely the greatest fascination for film by a fashion brand with their fifth women’s tale. Winning ‘Best Director’ at Sundance 2012 for her feature Middle of Nowhere, Ava DuVernay’s short film for Miu Miu, entitled The Door, is about women helping each other to heal from life’s burns. “It’s a story about sisterhood and helping one another, and I think as women, we do that, but it’s not often celebrated in the narratives that we see”, DuVernay commented. Starring Gavriella Union, The Door has no diologue so the tale unfolds in image, expression and a very powerful form of non verbal communication. Gripped by the series and inspired by Miu Miu’s conviction in their feminist take on cinema, we asked Ava about her favourite on-screen heroines and The Door‘s leading lady.
Who are your all-time favourite screen heroines? That’s a tough one. The first two that come to my mind immediately are Academy Award nominee Fernanda Montenegro in Walter Salles’ great Central Station and the legendary Diahann Carroll for her Oscar nominated role in Claudine. I love both films for their beautifully flawed characters. Those are just two heroines of many that I’ve enjoyed.
Tell me about the lead character in The Door. Where did she come from? I love to make stories about the interior lives of women. This tale was inspired by the strength and vulnerability I saw in Miu Miu’s designs. So I wrote a story about a woman who is at a vulnerable time in her life when she must lean on the strength of friends.
Have you explored film in a fashion context before? Was your approach to this short film for Miu Miu different from the way you usually approach films? I’d never worked on a fashion film and welcomed the challenge. I had a truly exceptional experience working with Miu Miu on this project. My approach to this film was different from my other work in that I usually build the character and select clothing to accentuate the story. This time I used the clothing to inspire the story.
Do you have a role model? Most women say their mother is their role model, and I’m no different. I’ve seen my Mom conquer so much. I’ve had the privilege of watching her life from a front row seat and am nourished by her journey and by who she is each and every day.
What other films are you looking forward to seeing this year? I’m looking forward to seeing that film by that filmmaker that no one has ever heard of that’s better than anything the studios tell us we will love. Those out-of-the-blue jewels are the best.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? “Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.” That’s courtesy of my Mom. It’s pretty good advice, I think. I try my best to take it every day.
Text: Sarah Raphael
Film: Ava DuVernay
Stills: Brigitte Lacombe for Miu Miu