“For me, serialization means a story keeps on deepening and expanding over time.” -- Brian Pera, Writer and Director
“Woman’s Picture,” the film, is a beginning. Filmmaker Brian Pera plans to continue exploring these characters in an open-ended series of short, web-based films over the next ten years or so.
The segments, while at first view may seem unrelated as stories, do relate on “subterranean levels of mood and theme,” according to Pera. This is a process he likens to perfumes from a long established house like Chanel. Compare two of them, and the differences are obvious. But, when looking at the line through time, the differences become more muted, while the parallels become more apparent, and more complex.
Visit the other participating blogs for different angles. They’re listed at the end of this (and subsequent) posts. And stop by Evelyn Avenue for all sorts of interesting stuff. “Miriam,” which is to be released in early October, will be sold there, and through Lucky Scent.
Andy Tauer has provided a very generous allotment of sample prize packages for the drawing, too. Details appear at the end of this post.
Pera has also done a fascinating series of short films in which women talk about their memories of perfumes, loved ones and the links between them. Look for "Melissa" here on Saturday, September 17th.
It seemed appropriate to serialize this interview, which was conducted online, as well. So it is appearing over a five day period.
“When you originally imagined Miriam’s mother’s perfume, what was it like?”
Pera: “In the film, Miriam keeps her mother's unnamed signature perfume off to the side of her vanity, in a crystal decant it must have originally come in. It's like a shrine there, and she has a ritual around it. People who love perfume will recognize that ritual and I think relate to it pretty strongly. Dressing the set, I put a tray nearby on the vanity with a variety of perfumes I selected from my own collection, all of them things I imagined Miriam would have inherited from her mother. All those bottles are pretty full, which indicates that her mother didn't wear them much, whereas her mother's signature perfume is almost empty. It's special.
Those other perfumes I put out were clues, pointing to what Miriam's mother's perfume might smell like, a combination of fragrances that would have been released around the same time. They give her mother's unnamed perfume some kind of context for the viewer, showing where it situates itself in time. I don't remember all of these perfumes I set out but I think they included Miss Balmain, Bal a Versailles, and Balenciaga Le Dix, some of my favorites.
All those perfumes represent a bygone era and signify how temporary things are. But, at the same time, because Miriam has kept them, we see how we can make things last, carrying the past forward with us. At the same time, I feel like Miriam's mother's signature perfume does something none of the others can, together or separately - which is why both women have revered it and kept it separate. Somehow, Miriam and her mother made a strong personal connection with this fragrance, and I'm fascinated by that. What endows one fragrance with those emotional properties, and not another? How does a fragrance speak to us that way, cutting right to who we are and how we feel about things? Miriam and her mother have a relationship with this fragrance which is like a relationship with a person. It's definitely a relationship with each other, through this perfume. For me that shows how huge a fragrance can be, how powerful and unique.
The perfume I had in mind as Miriam's mother's perfume while writing the script was Youth Dew by Estee Lauder. I liked the idea of Estee Lauder because I'm fascinated by that brand and what it means to women in America, the way it has bonded mothers and daughters in this realm of fantasy and luxury and ideas of everyday American femininity over the years, and the way that's a shared fantasy, similar to the way Miriam shares her fantasy world of perfection with her viewers. However, once I smelled Andy's version of Miriam, I couldn't picture anything else on the vanity there.”
Visit the other participating blogs for more exploration of “Woman’s Picture,” reviews and short films in which women talk about their memories of perfumes. Links appear at the end of this post.
The drawing: Each day, I’ll pick two winners at random from that day’s comments, who will each win a package from Tauer Perfumes. This includes a sample of the fragrance “Miriam” and a sneak-preview DVD version of the “Miriam” short film, which opens in October. I’ll announce the names of the previous day’s winners with each day’s post.
Previous winners of the “Miriam” package won’t be eligible to win again until the drawing for the Grand Prize, a purse-sized sprayer of “Miriam,” which all commenters are eligible to win. That random drawing will be held at the end of the five-day series, and announced at 9:00 a.m. US Eastern Daylight Time, Monday, Sept. 19th.
All winners must contact me with postal details at the email listed to the left, by midnight US Eastern Daylight Time, Friday, Sept. 30th. Otherwise, I’ll do a random drawing to select alternates.
Other participating blogs are:
Photo by Andy Tauer.
Photo by Andy Tauer.