Director – Marcos Mereles – 2021 – UK – Cert. 15 – 72m
A photographer, an intern, a model and a make-up artist unite for a photography shoot that goes horribly wrong – out in cinemas on Friday, October 14th
What went wrong, exactly,? asks the opening voice over. He’s referring to a day, a night and a day when a photographer (Sid Phoenix) with an unpaid intern (James Aroussi) in tow, a model (Isabelle Bonfrer) and a make-up artist (Rosie Steel) gather in a London studio to do a photographic fashion shoot for the All Is Vanity clothing brand. There’s a degree of tension and drama between the four. The photographer has the intern’s introductory letter on his phone and tells him he takes himself far too seriously: no-one wants to know his internal conflicts or motivation. He doesn’t have nice things to say about he model either, noting before she arrives that she can be a bit of a bitch.
It doesn’t bode well when she arrives late and holds up the shoot. The photographer likes the clothes and the décor in the studio that the brand has chosen, but doesn’t think the two work together. Something strange is going on because at one point the power goes off and the problem doesn’t appear to be blown fuses. When the director calls cut, we realise we have been watching a constructed film. At this point, narrative coherence is thrown to the wind as people start vanishing, for instance when they go to the loo and are never seen again. A cupboard is opened to reveal a crawlspace tunnel which leads into… another version of the studio, trapping anyone in there after they’ve gone through. And apparently,this other version of the studio is the previous day.
This is just about watchable while the ‘film within the film’ is taking place, but once it steps beyond that, whatever credibility it had is quickly stretched beyond breaking point. Clearly made for very little money, all would indeed appear to be vanity since the film has nothing to say and makes no sense whatsoever. The only thing in its favour is that it’s only 72 minutes long. However, it feels considerably longer. Avoid.
All Is Vanity is out in cinemas in the UK on Friday, October 14th.
London Film Festival