Featured image via YouTube
Prada has unveiled Past Forward, a 12-minute film the iconic fashion brand commissioned from David O. Russell, the visionary director behind Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and last year’s Joy.
Before you even ask, it’s not really a commercial. “I just think of it as a film,” Russell said in an interview with Vogue. “To me, it was a very special opportunity to do something for no other reason than to base it on emotions or memories and movies that I remembered.”
There are indeed some clear stylistic influences. As Wesley Morris of the New York Times pointed out, “Mr. Russell is trying on his own collection of classic Hitchcock and vintage [Michelangelo] Antonioni, namely 1962’s Eclipse. The three women have all been styled to look like Monica Vitti.”
Shot in stark black-and-white, the film stars Allison Williams, Freida Pinto, and Kuoth Wiel as the three women Morris mentioned. Seeming to exist in separate, parallel alternate universes, they each stumble into a paranoid, dadaist dreamscape that also features Connie Britton, John Krasinski, Paula Patton, and Sacha Baron Cohen. Stirring orchestral music swells in the background as they run from a frightening, undefined threat.
“These people in this movie that I made have dignity in their clothing,” Russell explained, “and they go through all chapters and stations of life from the excitement of an adventure and travel to the chase to security where everyone’s a suspect and in the new environment, it feels even more odd.”
The director sounded positively invigorated by the experience, gushing that he “kept proposing stream of consciousness memories and ideas, and she just said, ‘Do what you want to do.’” He continued, “It was an opportunity to do a creative work of pure cinema that I chose to do without dialogue and to do in black and white. How often do you get an opportunity to do something like that?”
With today’s film industry, not too often. So, hey, kudos to Prada for supporting the arts. Watch Past Forward above.