Saint Laurent Summer 21 'French Water' film by Jim Jarmusch

Saint Laurent

Summer 21 'French Water' Film by Jim Jarmusch

Review of Summer 21 ‘French Water’ Film by Jim Jarmusch – Saint Laurent Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello with Director Jim Jarmusch and Charlotte Gainsbourg, Indya Moore, Julianne Moore, Chloë Sevigny, & Leo Reilly

Something’s in the water in the latest experimental film collaboration from Saint Laurent, this time written and directed by iconic independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. Featuring an impressively high-profile cast and moody, stylish production, “French Water” is a surreal exploration of absence, connection, and time.

The film begins and ends on a shot of a blueish-purple carpet with a swirling, fractal-like pattern. Though this detail seems innocuous, it reappears again and again throughout the film, as if Jarmusch were obsessed with it. Coupled with the densely shifting electronic soundtrack, the infinitely spiraling purple haze of this carpet sets the tone for the film.

The camera pulls back to reveal the scene, a slickly chic hotel lobby bearing evidence of the aftermath of a high-class party. A lone waiter stands amid the remains, glasses of water at the ready. Soon Julianne Moore and Chloë Sevigny arrive, apparently playing themselves. Through their dialogue that feels almost too naturalistic against the film’s highly stylized production, we learn that they are a looking for a friend, while also lamenting the fact that their friend Charlotte (presumably Gainsbourg) couldn’t make it.

And yet Gainsbourg seems to be haunting this place like a jolly ghost. Recalling the surrealist film techniques often used by David Lynch, she pops in and out of frames unpredictably and with an air of nonchalant self-satisfaction. Inexplicably, the waiter seems to be the only one who can see her. Gainsbourg is also the only character who never partakes of his mysteriously symbolic water from France.

This simple yet impenetrable narrative unfolds over the course of the film’s nine minutes, punctuated by moments of surreal beauty and impeccably chic costume changes. Eventually, Julianne Moore and Sevigny meet up with Indya Moore, the friend they have been looking for this whole time. A moment of striking realism occurs when they all put on masks to go outside – pulling us out of the film’s sense of timelessness into the present day, and casting an even deeper sense of mystery over what has come before.

It feels as if the film is both an homage to and a slight parody of French surrealist cinema.

Though it is much more committed to style and feeling than story or character, which means it demands patience if we are to make an emotional connection with it, our patience is rewarded as we can find something deeply relatable in its strange dialectic of isolation, togetherness, and the liminal space in between. In keeping with Jarmusch’s dual sense of being an American filmmaker with a global approach and outlook, there is also a subtle consideration of the interplay between French and American culture.

The film marks the second of creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s experimental film collaborations for Saint Laurent, the first being Gaspar Noe’s which debuted last December. While the two films are very different stylistically, they are both thoughtful explorations on the intersection of fashion and film, and excellently executed collaborative projects. Noe psychedelically terrified us, Jarmusch refreshed us with a tall and strange drink of water, and we are thrilled to see where Vaccarello will take us next.

Saint Laurent Creative Director | Anthony Vaccarello
Director & Writer | Jim Jarmusch
Director of Photography | Frederick Elmes
Talents | Charlotte Gainsbourg, Indya Moore, Julianne Moore, Chloë Sevigny, & Leo Reilly
Stylist | Sydney Rose Thomas
Hair | Ward
Makeup | Erin Parsons
Collaborator | Womanray
Executive Producers | Marieke Tricoire & Charles Gillibert
Produced By | Carter Logan
Production Designer | Mark Friedberg
Editor | Benjamin Rodriguez, Jr.
Sound Designer | Robert Hein
Casting | ellen Lewis, Kate Sprance & Samuel Ellis Scheinman
Music | « Remainder » – Written by Sarah Lipstate – Performed by Noveller – Courtesy of Ba Da Bing Records
« Anemone » – Written by Anton Newcombe – Performed by The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Published by Warp
Publishing – Courtesy of A Recordings