“When Miu Miu asked me to do this short, I automatically thought about a teenager story, a young girl’s story,” said Ben Hania.
The Tunisian filmmaker is no stranger to telling compelling, female-led stories, as seen in 2017’s “Beauty and the Dogs,” selected for the Cannes Film Festival’s “Un Certain Regard.” Ben Hania is also behind last year’s “The Man Who Sold His Skin” — nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards — featuring Monica Bellucci (and a partnership with Alaïa for costumes).
For this particular project — titled “I and the Stupid Boy” — Miu Miu gave her freedom, she said, and she used dress “as an element of narration and an element of the conflict in the story.”
Starring French actress Oulaya Amamra (opposite Sandor Funtek), the story line centers on a young woman heading to a date but who finds herself confronted by an acquaintance, a guy who teases and taunts her.
“I wanted to use fashion in this movie as a constraint,” said Ben Hania. The protagonist — donning items from Miu Miu’s Maritime and fall 2021 collections — is first seen in an embroidered satin slipdress while getting ready and dancing around her bedroom to composer Bachar Mar-Khalifé’s thumping “Lemon,” before changing into a girly midriff-baring top and joggers for her date, which she pairs with heels. “The way she’s dressed is not practical at all to fight with this guy.”
The 13-minute tale goes beyond a fight, or play with fashion; it’s a commentary on vulnerabilities, power, the youth and technology.
Premiering tomorrow during the Venice Film Festival’s Giornate Degli Autori, it’s Miu Miu’s 22nd short in the series. Other collaborators have included Mati Diop, Ava DuVernay, Hiam Abbass, So Yong Kim, Miranda July, Agnès Varda, Chloé Sevigny, Dakota Fanning, Haifaa Al-Mansour and Isabel Sandoval, who will premiere her film “Shangri-La“ (the 21st installment) at the event as well.
“When you meet with the audience, this is the moment of truth,” Ben Hania said of unveiling the film.
She’s working on three projects, a documentary on Tunisia and Libya and two features, an English-speaking sci-fi film and a historical thriller based in North Africa.