Costumes make the movie “Lotus Eaters” shine
The costumes are just as essential as the rest of the film in Alexandra McGuinness’ new movie “Lotus Eaters.” Debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival Thursday, the black-and-white motion picture follows a set of British trust-fund types as they wander from party to party – dressed to the nines, of course, in sequined dresses from Chanel’s archive, feathered dresses by Shao Yen Chen and dizzyingly high footwear by Charlotte Olympia.
“The costumes get more dramatic in the film at the more dramatic points in the story,” the London-based director, who wrote and directed the film, told WWD. She reports she and her costume designers drew inspiration from Piero Gherardi‘s costumes in Federico Fellini flicks such as “8 ½.”
“His costumes were really outrageous at some points, even though the composition was very stark,” she said to WWD. “I always thought that was amazing. They were couture pieces, but I don’t think it was frivolous or anything; it was an amazing part of the films.”
The movie centers on the female protagonist Alice, played by Antonia Campbell-Hughes, a model-turned-actress. The basic plot unfolds around Alice’s boyfriend and his troubles with drugs, a problem tolerated by the group of companions. However, the aim is not to glamorize the socially prominent.
“You want to take the audience on a ride, really and see what they come away with,” McGuinness told WWD. “You hopefully want to move them and make them feel something.”
Although the circle of companions is not based on actual people, they have for sure been inspired by real life.
“Conversations and bits in the film have been grabbed from reality … We wanted to create a group of friends or a social group that doesn’t exist but could exist,” McGuinness said to WWD.
As a big departure from her usual short film efforts, the project definitely was a learning experience for the director.
“You don’t really have anything to lose when you’re making short films, but when you’re making a feature, you kind of have an army to look after as well,” she said, laughing. “You have to look after everyone, and move them about the place and feed them.”
Next for McGuinness is a psychological thriller, to be shot in Paris. “I want to do something completely different next time,” she said. She maintained, nevertheless, that she would still keep a certain common aesthetic.