Stefano Pilati presents Random Identities ‘Domestic (between wars)’ Film
Random Identities explore internal conflict and peace through interior space in a beautiful new film.
Creative Director Stefano Pilati worked with cinematographer Christopher Aoun and director Konstantin Bock to create the film, titled Domestic (between wars). It stars performance artist and dancer M.J. Harper, who inhabits the setting of Pilati’s home in Berlin. Pilati explains how reflections on interior space led to the ideas of internal life embodied in the film:
I am in love with the word ‘Domestic’: it is how I describe my life over the last few years and especially lately. To me, it means isolation, protection and familiarity. But also confinement and proximity to what I possess and what I love. ‘Between four walls,’ in my opinion, is where creativity submits to pressure, re-evaluates parameters and points of ‘forced’ perspective and bursts in clarity. If walls could listen and speak they’d reveal the intimate reflection of who we are, who we were, and perhaps, hopefully, who we’ll come to be, evolving in a pessimistic scenario of wars, everywhere, inside ourselves, around us.
– Stefano Pilati
The film seems to take the idea of a runway show as a reference point, but then recontextualizes and transcends this original motif in every way. Harper stalks confidently through the rooms of this home, evoking the haughty elegance of the old Haute Couture days. But in his movements – intentional, sculptural, cerebral – he evokes a vast and unguessable emotional landscape. Perhaps his dark glasses hide a smize as he walks down a hallway into the camera’s slow, steady gaze. As the sole audience member of this show – which, we think, maybe we should not be seeing at all – we feel a strange sense of confrontation. But the film matches this feeling of internal conflict with a freeing sense of tranquility.
This tense peacefulness is in no small part achieved by Aoun’s exquisite cinematography. Each shot has a wonderful feeling of balance and depth. He finds subtly thoughtful camera angles to create the feeling of space being dilated and stretched, but also balances this with an intimate feeling of closeness, especially when he and Harper make use of the sliding double doors that adorn Pilati’s apartments. A reliance on natural light lends to the film’s gorgeous coloration, which is also characterized by subtly beautiful repeating accents of yellow.
This idea of an interior emotional architecture is captured in the parenthetical half of the film’s title, Pilati explains. “As for (between wars),” he says, “it is the harmless dimension of a neutral way of existing, with all the self-indulgence, the various personal purposes, observing and absorbing, documenting the time that slides in walls and obstacles of normalization and deadly conformism.”
The subtle emotional choreography is scored by Isola Music with saxophonist Mat Clasin. Their languorous lounge jazz switches subtly from a slink to a sprint and back, oozing expressiveness and lending color to Harper’s motions. In the film’s climax, Harper removes his sunglasses for only thirty seconds or so – but in his eyes, made musical by the song, we see an immeasurable emotional journey.
The film also quietly makes what is perhaps the most impactful use of an accessory in a fashion film, ever: the appearance of a brooch emblazoned with the Black Power fist on a number of the (incredible) looks worn by Harper. Within and without, the universal fight for love and peace continues.
Stefano Pilati sums it up best himself: “The film is an urgent impulse to fight against the uncertain reality of succumbing to the ever indomitable search for beauty and for love, despite deaths and bloodsheds. Fashion, to me, is an artistic expression after all, and therefore part of the narrative reflecting our time.”
Random Identities Creative Director | Stefano Pilati Director | Konstantin Bock Cinematographer | Christopher Aoun Performance Artists | M.J. Harper Music | Isola Music & Mat Clasen Location | Berlin