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party girl

A little bit of history...

The idea for a Party Girl-like project was born 2 years ago with five rolls of Agfa XT-320 16mm film dropping into my lap. As the stock had expired during the mid 90‘s, its grainy, contrasty character would be the perfect excuse for a moody music video (The XT-320 was the same stock than Christopher Doyle had used on Wong Kar Wai’s Chunking Express -one of my favorite films- which ended up being a direct source of inspiration for the look of the film). Waiting for the right project, it sat in my fridge for ages until a friend shared a link for ‘Party Girl’ by Michelle Gurevic (back then Chinawoman). The mood of the song was intense and I loved it so much I remember being really nervous about contacting Michelle and asking her if I could shoot a promo for it.

Ideas went back and forth for a good couple of weeks, but it felt that there was something missing to the story which prevented us from going ahead. Months went by and the whole thing was pushed back... Until I found the missing link in a picture of and by photographer Jack Soilleux.

Jack was keen to play the lead and only weeks later we where ready to shoot. At this point producer Annie Jael Kwan and cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis (DOP for the Oscars nominated 'Bullhead') had joined in. Working on a shoestring budget of £2000 proved quite a challenge, but thanks to an amazing crew who put their trust on my weary shoulders (as much as they lifted my spirits on more than one occasion), we managed to get it made. So this is for all of you... thank you, you are the best.

Story Line.

The narrative for the film centers around a girl at a private party. She performs for the other guests, taking on an extravagant and sexualized persona, immersing herself into the dark corners of a debauched London. I wanted to reveal the sadness behind this masquerade and show how a naive young girl is confronted with the painful truth of how far down the rabbit hole one can fall.

Style and Mood.

Dark and melancholic, like the song itself, I wanted the imagery to be heavily suggestive, being influenced by the styling of Wong Kar Wai's Chung King Express, the grainy look of the pictures Man Ray took of Marcel Duchamp and the decadent tone found in Fassbinder's trilogy. Another major influence is a painting by Eduard Munch, where the twilight casts a shadow over an adulterous couple, leaving the mind to invent what it doesn’t see.

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Party Girl written and performed by Michelle Gurevich

Directed by: Laurence von Thomas
Production: [arthur-frank]

Girl: Jack Soilleux

Dancers: Lena Gora, Nikola Vasakova
                 Alex King and Ping Heathcote

Cinematography: Nicolas Karakatsanis
Production Manager: Annie Jael Kwan
Editing and Grading: Laurence von Thomas
Styling: Asia Apolonia and Emma-Rebbecca Sly
Art Direction: Marie Lanna
Props: India Hamilton
Makeup: Emma-Rebbecca Sly
1st ad: Claire Griffiths
1st ac: Thomas Caselli
2nd ac and Key Grip: Boyd Skinner
Still Photographer: Amandine Paulandré
Runners: Dylan John and Mark Cooper-Jones

Big thanks to Nicky Donald, Lord Edward Davenport, Erika Ts, Sasha Nixon, Eve Graham, Charlotte Vellinga, Lizzie Holdforth, Elise Martens, Anderas Lohn, Bryn Hoffman, Gemma and Julie @because, Kevin Soar, Beyond Retro Shoreditch, the staff @the diner, mom and dad.