TALK TO ME LIKE THE RAIN is a short film by BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion & Communication student Jennifer Lee, which was inspired by the 1953 Tennessee Williams play of the same name and which showcases the work of fellow BA (Hons) Fashion Womenswear student Anna Rosevear. Both are set to graduate from Ravensbourne this year.
Volt Café: What a great and cohesive result of your joint input! How and why did you decide to collaborate?
Jennifer Lee: We both researched our final projects independently last summer and developed them throughout the autumn term. I knew that I wanted to produce a fashion film and had originally planned to shoot at the beginning of the year but as soon as I saw Anna’s illustrations I knew it would be worth waiting for her collection – her concept was perfect.
Anna Rosevear: They just worked so well together what with both of our muses being lost in the shadows. Jen was the first person I spoke to when I started at Ravensbourne nearly 3 years ago so it’s been great to work together.
JL: It just made so much sense to given the nature of our degrees and we were on the same page from day one.
VC: Your production values, presentation, even the invites and the screening were beautiful and very considered – did you have a huge budget? How did you achieve all this?
JL & AR: Budget? (They both laugh incredulously)
JL: I think the restricted budget really helped with my creativity, in particular, it encouraged me to explore projection as a medium to create different states and situations from nothing. For the shoot a little money went towards an old overhead projector and the rest on coffee and party rings on the day! I am very lucky to have the most amazing friends – my housemate, Christopher Poole is a fantastic cameraman and editor, he showed me how to direct and use Final Cut. His sister and good friend of mine, Natalie is a hair and make-up artist. The music was made by Matt Farthing who is so talented. Our actors, Fred Szkoda and Sophie Hopkins, were both amazing and very patient, Fred even held the boom mic for half of the day!
AR: They were, you would never have guessed that we only cast Sophie a week before the shoot after our first actress pulled out – the chemistry between them was electric! And she looks almost identical to my illustrations.
VC: The film is very much about the need for solitude, escaping the endless desire to be doing something, being part of the everyday race. It’s also about the break up of a seemingly intense relationship. Do you think it’s impossible for passion to stay present after a certain point? And is it then a decision of either breaking up and the resulting pain or accepting that the price for staying is a more humdrum relationship? Tennessee Williams’ play, which you based the film on, was a world of pain, a kind of slow death. A very grown-up choice – what particularly attracted you to it?
JL: Well, I fell in love with the title Talk to Me Like The Rain before I’d even read the play. It is incredibly evocative. I stumbled across it completely by accident, about a year ago and it stayed with me – the dialogue is haunting and I think the theme is timeless.
VC: The landscape is particularly beautiful! Where did you shoot it?
JL: I grew up in a village called Hill Head, near Portsmouth – I haven’t lived there for about 4 years but when I do go home I walk the dog along the beach, one evening I happened to take my camera with me and tried shooting some footage. It was really lovely to have that part of my history in the film.
VC: What are your influences?
AR: For this collection I started with a visit to Highgate Cemetery, I absolutely recommend it! It’s incredibly transitional, there’s a point when you enter a crypt and pass through the land of the living into the land of the dead. I am also obsessed with the work of photographer Deborah Turbeville and the notion of transcending between states of subconscious thoughts. Her photographs are almost like a suspended pause in a story. I looked at the consciously damaged, antiqued and almost painterly images to inspire my colour palette and fabric choices and the willowy, empty women became my muses.
JL: Initially, French New Wave and Italian Neo-Realism. I’m a fan of Antonioni, particularly his landscapes in L’Avventura and the final scene in La Notte, which is completely heartbreaking – I like long shots and really quiet moments. I’ve been interested in the use of typography in art for years so naturally Jenny Holzer was a big influence. Also, Diana Thater, whose use of projection is incredible, Rob Ryan’s beautifully melancholic paper cuts that made me want to cut out the word projections by hand and of course, David Lynch.
VC: So what’s next for the two of you?
JL: No plans yet – which is pretty scary! I’ll work as soon as I can to stay in London and fingers crossed that will be doing something creative. I interned at Bartle Bogle Hegarty last summer which was fantastic, I would love to come up with ideas all day.
AR: I’m heading to Burberry (AR won an internship whilst studying and has been invited to join them after her graduation). Of course, I want to stay in design but we’ll see what happens.
Words by Anna Bang
TagsAntonioni, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, burberry, David Lynch, Deborah Turbeville, Diana Thater, Jenny Holzer, Rob Ryan, Tennessee Williams,