For the 2021 instalment of Miu Miu’s highly acclaimed short-film series “Women’s Tales,” the fashion label has invited a line-up of original female directors to investigate vanity and modern femininity (past commissions include the likes of Chloë Sevigny and Agnès Varda to Ava DuVernay and Miranda July). First up, Shangri-La; from Filipino filmmaker, Isabel Sandoval, which explores desire and unrequited love.
A rising filmmaker to know, Sandoval made history back in 2019, when she became the first trans woman of colour to direct and star in a Venice film festival competition film (with her third feature movie, and her first to be made in the US: Lingua Franca), which told the story of a trans woman falling in love in modern Brooklyn, Though partly autobiographical, she drew inspiration from her friends’ anecdotes.
The 10-minute Miu Miu film takes place in 1930s California, during the Great Depression. A young Filipino woman (played by Sandoval) confesses her most intimate thoughts and sexual desires in a confessional; expressing her feelings towards a white American man (at the time, interracial relationships were prohibited by state law). The confession box transforms into a “romantic time machine”, as she travels into alternate futures.
“When I looked at his face glowing in the starlight…”
“…It felt like I was seeing him for the first time.”
“I was stunned, honored, and privileged to be invited to direct the next Miu Miu Women’s Tales,” Isabel says. Clothing, too, plays an important role, to reflect the characters empowering transformation over time. “I regard costumes as an expression of the lead character’s potential as a woman,” she says. “She envisions herself as a warrior, princess, or goddess. The looks allow the protagonist to feel power, allure, ambition and strength.”
You can watch Sandoval's short film and other instalments of Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales this year here.
images | courtesy of miu miu