Rodarte's Space Odyssey 'Aanteni' premieres on REDCAT's big screen
L.A.'s fashion cognoscenti, plaid-shirted hipsters and a stray actor -- Elijah Wood -- crowded Walt Disney Concert Hall's REDCAT experimental arts venue on Wednesday evening for “Aanteni,” a 10-minute sci-fi short directed by fashion photographer Todd Cole, starring model Guinevere van Seenus clad in Rodarte’s spring 2010 collection and featuring a live score by band No Age.
Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy met Cole on a photo shoot and found the three all grew up in the shadows of the U.S. space program. Cole was raised in Houston near NASA's Space Center and the Mulleavys near the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. “Laura and I are from Pasadena where Jack Parsons invented rocket fuel,” said Kate Mulleavy, toting a Proust book bag (Laura was en route from New York and didn't attend the screening). “Todd also has an interest in science fiction and aliens.”
Cole conceptualized a woman running from technology and believed Rodarte's aesthetic would suit the narrative. "The dresses look like something that have a story behind them -- been torn or burned," he said, adding, "We wanted to shoot at JPL, but they were like 'no way'." The director ended up filming at Hawthorne's SpaceX, which develops space transport vehicles.
In the opening sequence, Van Seenus barrels along downtown L.A's South Sante Fe Avenue wearing one delicate seaweed-like fringed number and a gown that resembles a fisherman's net, interspersed with shots of a growling jet engine. Once captured, Van Seenus appears to have either drifted off into space or landed in the Los Angeles River.
"Technology is making our life easier, but is it helping or hurting us?" said Cole. "The film is a fragment. There's not enough time to develop characters, so viewers have to connect the dots."
And, indeed, the short film with its long pans suggests a fashion editorial rather than true feature.
“Magazines are getting smaller,” said Cole. “You can put this online on YouTube, screen it and pull stills -- much more opportunities than straight-up fashion editorials.”
-- Max Padilla