Lotus Eaters

A Taste of Director Alexandra McGuinness’ Rip-Roaring Black-and-White Debut Film

A music video-like montage flits between the unkempt buzz of England’s Glastonbury Festival and the more relaxed vibe of the South of France in this excerpt of 28-year-old director Alexandra McGuinness’ first feature, Lotus Eaters. Antonia Campbell Hughes stars as aspirant actress Alice, the love interest of drug-addled Charlie, played by actor and folk troubadour Johnny Flynn, and Benn Northover’s character Felix in a narrative that puts the life of London’s wasted and well-off youth under the microscope. “That year at Glastonbury was incredibly hot,” remembers McGuinness of shooting the scene that is soundtracked by LA-based outfit Los Super Elegantes. “We had no permission, we just winged it and followed Antonia around, pushing and pulling her when there was a good shot.” The choice to make the film in black and white has led to some likening its style to that of Jean-Luc Godard, but McGuinness was more inspired by 1980s fashion magazines than the French New Wave. “I was influenced by the photography of Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton and Bruce Weber,” the filmmaker says. “We steered away from any noir references. Shooting in black and white was about rooting the film somewhere between the past and the present.”

Lotus Eaters premieres at Curzon Soho, London on March 28 before playing at New Yorks Village East Cinema from April 5 and LAs Arena Cinema from April 12. 

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Conversations (2)

  • Natasha Ward-Davis
    I saw this film in 2011 here is my take on it Lotus Eaters Youth unknowing, blindly taking all, Giving, nor forgiving none Blurting nonsensical words without truth or meaning Playing to their ego's unconscious pleading Body language betraying emotional leaking Devouring mind's, heart's, souls, divine Without understanding they step over every conceivable line Searching for a place to lay life out, Endeavouring to make it unatainably sublime Instead they commit emotional crime Illicit substances, sex and heady pursuits Obliterate feelings of inadequacies deep rooted Inhibitions soothed open, decency looted Yet guilt then oozes from every pore Pills popped for the last time, yet their spells never broken Addication stregthened more and more Bathing, then drowning in booze, feelings unspoken Peer group love absent, at a part - y they should leave Cries of desperation seen through dead eyes No-one can feel each other's pain Each trying to flout competition Conveniently thinking each other to blame Friends I suppose, but they do not seem Bitching and pinching each other's egos supreme In mindless selfish efforts to be the coolest of the crop They pretend to be buddies yet defect when defences drop Life's empty place, of no respite Johnny sweetly sings to the only love in his sad sorry life Then died almost valiantly to give Alice life Yet she suspends all development and shallows even more Lost in a world of deluded shadows she causes all to fall. Natasha Ward-Davis
  • HLegg
    Now I will spend the rest of the day dreaming of getting myself to London to see it debut at the Curzon. Ah, 25 was a sweet time. 42 looks different but equally charged
    • Posted By HLegg
    • March 25, 2013 at 1:10PM
    • Share Comment:

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  • On Replay
    On Replay

    Mike Brodie: A Period of Juvenile Prosperity

    America's "Polaroid Kidd” Reveals Raw Shots of Youth Living in Transit and Off the Grid

    Train-jumping, hitch-hiking, and trudging through edgelands are the primary modes of transport chosen by photographer Mike Brodie and his itinerant young subjects in A Period of Juvenile Prosperity. Documenting Brodie’s traveling community of freedom-seeking adolescents as they bushwhack through the ‘burbs and backwaters of the United States, this new image series will feature in simultaneous shows at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York and M+B in Los Angeles and appear in a monograph published by Twin Palms. Shot spontaneously between 2004 and 2009 across 46 states and over 50,000 formative miles, these photographs have already earned the Arizona-born Brodie a 2007 Baum Award for emerging photographers and a museum exhibition in Massachusetts and California. In the meantime Brodie turned his focus towards becoming a mobile diesel mechanic, trading in the SX-70 Time-Zero film that earned him the moniker “The Polaroid Kidd” for the silver 1993 Dodge Ram truck out of which he now works. “I like machinery, big wheels and engines and dirt and grime and industry,” he says. “The things that turn the wheels of America.” 

    What made you choose these subjects initially?
    Mike Brodie: It was intuitive—something told me that the world of the train riders was important. I knew I only had one chance to get the photos because soon they would grow up and so would I. Now I don’t want to ride trains anymore.

    What have been some of the most compelling places to photograph?
    MB: The train bridge that spans Escambia Bay just as your leaving Pensacola, Florida to the east—it’s just beautiful and nostalgic in all the right ways. Also New Orleans, Louisiana. Historically it’s always been a place where travelers congregate but after Hurricane Katrina it opened itself even more. Lots of abandoned spaces and a strange freedom to do whatever you want—people’s imaginations can really run wild there. 

    Have you since interacted with your old friends?
    MB: Last night at my opening at Yossi Milo, a fellow train rider came and expressed that, despite the fact that I’ve elevated these photos and this culture into the spotlight this way, I’m respected within the traveling community. This meant a lot to me—it’s nice to know that I’m part of something bigger and more important than myself. It’s fuckin’ real.

    A Period of Juvenile Prosperity will be on view at Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, and M+B Los Angeles, through May 11. The accompanying monograph is available now from Twin Palms, and in a limited artists edition from TWB. 

    (Read More)
  • MOST SHARED IN CHINA
    MOST SHARED IN CHINA

    Laure Shang: Perfect Night

    China’s Gothic Pop Star Reveals Her Darkly Romantic New Video

    Mixing steely electronic beats with her deep and powerful voice, Chinese chanteuse Laure Shang Wenjie performs a haunting tale of love and war in her new video for Perfect Night, directed by Theo Stanley. Wearing sculptural dresses by local designer Masha Ma, the Shanghai native morphs into an eerie nocturnal creature enveloped in smoke and flames. Shang rose to prominence by winning the third season of China’s television singing contest Super Girls, and last year took Music Radio’s Best Female Singer award to cement her place as China’s pop icon of the moment. Also a fashion muse, Shang has modeled for L’Officiel Hommes, regularly attends couture shows around the world, and works with emerging Chinese designers, such as Central Saint Martins graduate Ma. “The white and black forms worked well for the composite effects, and provided a canvas for the prismatic color projections,” says Stanley of Ma’s creations. “I developed a visual treatment which focused on a combined language of prisms, crystals, smoke and fire elements.” The track is taken from Shang’s forthcoming album Ode to the Doom, on which the 29-year-old explores spirituality, love and death, inspired by goth subcultures and the macabre romance of Alexander McQueen. Here the singer shares her preferences for mohair, Katy Perry and Alexander Wang.

    Beijing Fashion Week or Shanghai Film Festival?
    Shanghai Film Festival.

    Minx or mohair?
    Mohair.

    Black or White?
    Both.

    Smokey eye or cat eye?
    Smokey.

    Electro-pop or chanson?
    Electro-pop.

    Croissants or Shanghai Dumplings?
    Shanghai Dumplings.

    Alexander Wang or Limi Feu?
    Alexander Wang.

    I Kissed a Girl or Blame it on the Girls?
    I kissed a Girl.

    (Read More)

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