Husband-and-wife director duo Leo Gack and Zoé Martin reimagine the somnambulant intimacy of experimental musician Mari Maurice’s album for OOH-sounds as a moment of quiet tenderness the morning after a night of violent depravity.
more eaze describes each track of oneiric, her recent album for the always excellent Florentine label OOH-sounds, as “on the verge of communicating some deep truth but not quite being able to articulate it, like accidentally mumbling a secret while sleep-talking.” For the beautifully dazed visual for the album’s opener, ‘a romance’, directed by Zoé Martin and her husband Leo Gack, we’re transported to the moments that follow on waking, as two young creatures of the night awake to the aftermath of a particularly debauched party. Cinematic synth swells and tactile sound design signal the first crepuscular rays of dawn light, a wave of warm distortion duplicated in the twilit haze that illuminates the site of what reveals itself to have been an orgiastic banquet charged with vampiric desire. “Tracks like ‘a romance’ have such an immense cinematic potential that we, as filmmakers, often face the temptation to approach such music as a means rather than an end,” they explain. “While we knew we wanted to make a video that would be somewhat narrative, it was very important for us to make sure the story would serve the music, and not the other way around.” Translating the lovestruck melancholy that saturates more eaze’s sound into a evocative portrait of two characters intimately connected in an ultimately destructive circumstance, Martin and Gack explore how infatuation and lust can be, quite literally, all-consuming.
“‘a romance’ is largely about the awkwardness and absurdity of falling in love and how in the midst of that discomfort an undeniable, all-encompassing mood sets in,” says Maurice. “I feel like Zoe and Leo did an excellent job capturing this in their video and there’s this sense of beauty constantly encroaching and framing the horror of the events set in place here.” As the outlines of various bodies strewn across a bedroom floor gradually resolve themselves as morning approaches, an all-too familiar morning after scene is suggested, a post-party scenario that would go unquestioned save for the tell-tale stains around our protagonists mouths. “The starting point was that long, lo-fi distorted sound running through the second half of the track, which reminded us of a sunbeam piercing through a window,” continue Martin and Gack. “We don’t know, why but ‘a romance’ definitely felt like a morning song to us, a song to wake up to. So our goal was to encapsulate that fleeting, blissful, moment of waking up next to someone dear. The beauty and tenderness of it, right before we connect with the world, and regardless of the context.” Shrouded in a blood-stained sheet, faces turned towards the morning light, before pulling focus on the grisly reality of the world, our protagonists’ room is filled with love.
“The vampire theme helped us achieve that by visually opposing the ingenuousness of the young vampires with the horrid aftermath of their feast,” Martin and Gack explain. “Parting with the sexual aspect of the myth was also crucial to us: we kept the relationship between them ambiguous so kindness would prevail. We also drifted away from the usual romantic setting by adopting a more contemporary take on the vampire lair: a sort of Klimt inspired golden squalor that belongs to a place somewhere between dream and reality, in the treasured world of the half-awakes.” Amidst exquisitely framed squalor, in a space that is both an amorously trashed bedroom and a macabre den of corpses, demonic appetite is collapsed as just another form of youthful transgression, simply another expression of ravenous desire. In this way, turning towards the sunlight of a new day is framed as yet another taboo to be explored, the death drive of the young vampires demonstrated in stark detail. Surrounded by the bodies of the consumed, bloody testaments to their most primal urges, their hunger is shown to be for love in all its forms: a love of flesh, a love of each other and a love of beauty, each so potent they are willing to risk destruction in hedonistic pursuit.
For more information about Leo Gack and Zoé Martin, you can follow them on Instagram.
a romance Credits:
Directors – Léo Gack & Zoé Martin
Cast – Oliwia Lis, Tanaig Bonenfant, Antoine Lebas, Emma Ebouaney, Ellyson Gasparetto, Alex Legallet, Hadrien Legallet, Jade Martinez, Clément Mellet, Robin Cannone
Director of Photography – Théodore Hugonnier
Casting Director – Jasmin Nahar
Producer – Producing Love
1st Assistant Camera – Léo Servant
2nd Assistant Camera – Paul Godeau
Gaffer – Joffrey Chatellier
Electrician – Sarah Guillaumin Haddad
Key Grip – Ugo Villaume
Grip Assistant – Louis Gasca
Set Designer – Jade Boyeldieu d’Auvigny
Set Designer Assistants – Caroline Reveillaud, Pierre-Henri Leneveu
Stylist – Lu-Philippe Guilmette
Make-up Artist – Zoë Derks
Hair Stylist – Jonathan Dadoun
Film Processing and Scanning – Silverway