BERLIN (Reuters) - A barely recognizable Jude Law plays a cross-dressing, corset-wearing model called Minx in a new film made up entirely of face-to-camera interviews.
“Rage,” which premieres at the Berlin film festival on Sunday, is what director Sally Potter calls “naked” cinema. It cost less than $1 million to make despite starring Law, Judi Dench, Steve Buscemi and model Lily Cole as Lettuce Leaf.
Part murder mystery, part send-up of the fashion industry, the movie forces the audience to use its imagination to fill in what goes on off camera.
All the viewer has to go on is short, confessional monologues by a cast of characters ranging from Dench’s acerbic fashion writer Mona Carvell to Simon Abkarian’s Merlin, who bears some resemblance to real-life designer John Galliano.
They speak to an unseen character called Michelangelo, a student working on a school project about the fashion industry who posts clips filmed on his mobile phone on the Internet.
Each section is shot against a computerized blue screen normally used for elaborate actions sequences and effects.
Potter merely changes the colors, meaning the only interaction between actor and viewer is facial expression, body language and the script.
“It’s about trying to make the most simple, skeletal holding form in order to tell a story through the amazing complexity and variety of the human face,” Potter told a news conference following the press screening.
The movie appeared to divide the media, with some praising Rage warmly but dozens of others walking out of the film early.
“It’s about naked story telling ... set in an industry that’s about clothes.”
Initially cagey, the cast quickly opens up to Michelangelo.
“We ... live in a culture that is kind of fetishising fake confessions in the form of reality TV, confessions made for an effect or to get famous,” Potter explained.
“I tried to go back to an earlier lineage of confession which is a kind of unburdening in truth-telling and a lifting off, if you like, of a mask.”
Riz Ahmed, who portrays a pizza delivery boy, said the film was a reflection of the Facebook generation, where a night out was only a night out once images and accounts of the event were posted on the Internet for all to see.
Much of the pleasure of Rage comes from Potter’s script.
Merlin, carried away by his own genius, states that a dress is not just a dress, but: “A sacred vessel for the miraculous.” Carvell describes fashion as “pornography to which millions are addicted. It’s much worse than heroin, take it from me.”
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