Crème Caramel

Canada Turn an Innocent Dessert into an Erotic Ideal in Part Three of #DefineBeauty

Sexual impulse is put under a retro-filtered microscope in Canada’s short, Crème Caramel. Giving the popular pudding top billing, the Barcelona director collective depict a portrait of desire for the latest in NOWNESS’ weekly series #DefineBeauty. Having shot music videos for Scissor Sisters and Phoenix, Canada’s Nicolás Méndez, Lope Serrano, Oscar Romagosa and Alba Barneda deconstructed the sensual yet somehow irreverent features of the female form. “When you are obsessed with someone, it’s not just with that someone—it’s with the shape of the hips, the color of the nipples, or the shade of her hair when she comes out of the shower,” says Serrano of their inspiration. “We were thinking of a metaphor that represents the heterosexual male view of the female body: something sweet, tender and beautiful—a crème caramel.” The directors captured the trembling dessert—which they insist is an aphrodisiac—alongside hyper-stylized visual motifs that include kaleidoscopic illustrations and 1970s records. While Serrano crafted the drawings featured in the short, a chance encounter with French band La Femme as he listened to the studio stereo resulted in the climactic soundtrack, “La Femme Ressort.” “When you’re making work based on visions of a woman’s body, you cannot lose your own desire, which is instinctively sexual,” says Serrano, who also cites Godard’s chapter for the 1969 multi-director feature Love and Anger as a reference. “But we’re not insisting on the simply erotic notion, it’s also anatomical: a wonderful succession of details.”

The next in the #DefineBeauty series The Magic Gap premieres Tuesday May 27.

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Conversations (19)

  • Mozartmike
    Well I think that after all the causes have been vented,I'm left with this; Define Beauty,has been a sensual,learning from a woman to a man.To those who ask why always women,well they are beautiful,why show this woman/girl in her panties?Well if you listen she's not so much concerned how she see her body,but her beau.When she talks of her body she is telling more in this short flick than woman tell their own husbands.Ask yourself, women how many of you out there are going to share are willing to pass along to a man those inner thoughts?The things she says this is material that's going on in her mind.I see nothing vile or pointed in the entire series.
  • jubako
    Seriously predictable storyline and French coquette- ish anno 1960'ies. I see nothing new or now in this video regarding gender stereotypes or idea. Anyone can make a nice looking video these days, we want REAL changing, challenging content that points us to a future of greater equality!
    • Posted By jubako
    • June 15, 2014 at 7:57PM
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  • timhk
    The video is great. It's clever, witty, query and engaging, well shot, well directed etc all at the same time. To all commenting that this video is "another misogynistic perpetuation of the unrealistic image of women" i'd love to know how any of what you claim is true. Is the woman in this video fictitious? Is she not an actual "real" human being? Is she in illusion? What makes this woman so "unrealistic"?? She actually exists on this planet does she not? Do you know that the actual meaning of "mysoginistic" is "Of or characterized by a hatred of women". I don't see any hatred of women here, only admiration for the human form. It seems your only definition of a "real" person is someone who has extra weight on their body, someone older but certainly not someone who happens to be young, of slim build and let alone, a "model". Perhaps take a moment to yourself and think, who is the real mysoginist. Lest, a mere whinger for whinging's sake...
    • Posted By timhk
    • June 07, 2014 at 1:17AM
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  • Tanya93
    It is amazing!!!Who knows the song?Please, tell^^
  • Catbatist
    I loved it all, because love for me is actually that: a succession of details that you end up observing and loving. The visual is fantastic too :3
  • Hans M.
    This was so great! Yes, we have a skinny model at the center, but the narrative is so on point and witty, it often brought me to relatable places of how I look at my wife. It also has a great sense of humor and a brilliant pace. Perfect cutaway at the last second to the end credits (whose length I didn't mind because of the return of that great music). One of the best videos I've seen on Nowness in years (and I don't often like them).
    • Posted By Hans M.
    • May 24, 2014 at 5:49AM
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  • galitonia
    I'd really like to see a beauty that isn't so typical, I'm not jealous, in fact my body is very similar to hers, however 31 now, my teens & 20's were always a battle of references to my 1-dimensional God-given physicality than who I am 3-dimensionally. I want to see beauty defined beyond sexual references & not in a seemingly horny underaged darling. A beauty that isn't just physical and makes you feel dirty after looking, rather a beauty that is so pure, rare and graceful it burns your retinas in the moment its subtle light hits you. Sorry this doesn't define anything but an American Apparel ad.
    • Posted By galitonia
    • May 23, 2014 at 2:47PM
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  • JoF
    The style of this video is great, the art direction, cinematography, direction and narration are all wonderful. The nicest element is that it is shot on 35mm. Unfortunately, it is the casting of a skinny pretty teenage looking girl, dressed in cutesy childish clothing who conforms to the "erotic" and "beauty" "ideals" as mentioned below of heterosexual men, that makes it shallow, sexist, predictable and too naval-gazing to be likable. It would have been effective to cast an unusual person that defies the boundaries of the social norm image women are forced into. The same would be true if the lead character was a man and the narrator a man. There is no back story behind the character to warrant any purposeful choice in cast, and interpreting the piece in its entirety suggests that pre-pubescent skinny young girls dancing in their knickers are the face of what's "erotic". Especially the unnecessary dance and fireworks routine, and grotesque Paul McCarthy channeling ejaculation of sauce images, serving nothing more than to underline the shallowness of the film. Perhaps it is personal to the filmmaker, in a navel-gazing exercise in expressing what he finds erotic, which would explain the overly long credits. It's trying too hard to be stylish and artsy, could have been really interesting, but is predictable and flat.
    • Posted By JoF
    • May 22, 2014 at 1:45AM
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  • bennett
    Sexy and fun and similar to many other Canada films. I liked it a lot, but still have a problem with a film that is 3 minutes long and yet has 1:15 of credits at the end. Kind of says something about the nature of self-importance. Did Jean Luc Godard also have credits this long?
    • Posted By bennett
    • May 21, 2014 at 5:40PM
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  • Odjane
    The Artistic Direction of this video is really good, even though it is "this" close to be a bit too trendy/hipster/mainstream in the end. But, it is nicely directed and produced. As for the bottom of this video, I just think it's funny! We all understand the point of view here. But in the end we have a creme caramel talking for itself and discribing the world the way it sees it and what the meaning of beauty is from its point of view. Even if it just refers to the body of the girl. I don't think it's misogynistic, the director could have clearly changed the characters and replace the girl with a man and the creme with a woman, or two men, or two women or else...Every single thing and person can be seen as erotic, despite what we would like to think, even creme caramels.
  • Inphemeral
    I really like this video and I don't think it is misogynistic. It is not degrading women in any way nor implying we are inferior to men. I think it is nicely done and erotic. While I agree the woman in the video has the measurements we always see in media that does not make it bad or necessarily unrealistic. I also do agree that your own beauty is defined by how you see yourself. But I think we can all agree that we see beauty in others, and one form of beauty that we may perceive is clearly physical and sexual. Which is not wrong. I don't see this video as objectification. It is not presenting her as an 'object', even if it is only referring to her body I feel that it gives her some sort of agency. And physicality is part of what we are and how we relate to others. As far as I am concerned being physically attracted to someone is not objectification, it is a normal human emotion.
    • Posted By Inphemeral
    • May 21, 2014 at 9:56AM
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  • Distracted.lives
    heterosexual male here- I’d like to ask the commentators on this page what is so wrong with erotic ideals that represent heterosexual views of women? Don’t get me wrong, there is obviously something untactful happening- but I’m personally trying to understand feminist critique of “misogynistic” definitions of beauty and ideals that are being blamed for perpetuating "unrealistic" and "disgusting" images of women. It all seems very black or white to me.
  • Lalaland
    This would have been a great film if it had been starring a woman who looks like a real woman, not a model. Then it would have been innovative. Instead of just another misogynistic perpetuation of the unrealistic image of women portrayed in the media as the "definition of beauty" and "what men want". Gross. Thumbs down. Lost respect for Nowness.
  • Neal Kernohan
    Bravo. Beautiful work.
    • Posted By Neal Kernohan
    • May 20, 2014 at 2:40PM
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  • nolsy
    this is extremely misogynistic. why is this being promoted in a has tag called "definebeauty?" Way to go Nowness... objectifying women to the highest degree is beautiful. Disgusting.
    • Posted By nolsy
    • May 20, 2014 at 1:17PM
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  • laura white
    a waste of nowness daily ritual.....
    • Posted By laura white
    • May 20, 2014 at 1:01PM
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  • xy
    Beauty is in the woman who owns it, NOT the man who looks at her and analyzes every part of her body.
    • Posted By xy
    • May 20, 2014 at 12:23PM
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  • xy
    Really cute and well shot but I find this completely offensive and disgusting. Do we really need MORE "heterosexual male views of the female body"? Really sad to see a site like this perpetuate the objectification of women.
    • Posted By xy
    • May 20, 2014 at 12:22PM
    • Share Comment:
  • Franco De Rose
    I would like to order the same Creme Caramel....

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    Beauty Is a Form of Genius

    Clara Cullen Crystallizes the Allure of Enhancement in Part Two of #DefineBeauty

    “Everyone wants something they don’t have. It’s the principle of desire,” says Clara Cullen, the Buenos Aires-born director of Beauty Is a Form of Genius, the second film in the weekly NOWNESS series #DefineBeauty. “I’m fascinated by the idea of changing your face and body. We like to please with our looks and I don't find that immoral or shallow.” An early encounter with 'carnal' French artist Orlan, who uses her face as a surgical canvas, left an imprint on the filmmaker. “I realized plastic surgery is a performing art and while Orlan subverts it—she had two horns popping out of her head—it’s still using the same tools,” she says, also citing Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray as inspiration. Scripted in collaboration with novelist Maxine Swann, Cullen herself provides the evocative monologue, intertwining four stories that take in the universal human conditions of self-esteem, vanity, insecurity and temptation. Long blonde hair, a chiseled bone structure and surgically enhanced breasts and lips depict an Argentinian beauty prototype. “Plastic surgery is in my culture,” says Cullen, who returned to her home city to interview the cast, which included Charlotte Caniggia, daughter of Argentina’s celebrated World Cup hero, the former footballer Claudio Caniggia. “Mario Testino has a joke about us: Why do Argentinians go outside during an electric storm? Because they think God is taking photos of them.”

    The next in the #DefineBeauty
    series A Maximum Illusion: Creme Caramel premieres Tuesday May 20.

    (Read More)

    Bounce Meets Vogue

    New Orleans Airlift Unites Two Street-Dance Disciplines for the First Time as Part of 1MSQFT

    “People who are not from New Orleans are trying to learn about bounce music,” says Katey Red, a 15-year-veteran of her homegrown music scene and self-confessed ‘queen of bounce.’ “People want to learn how to do the booty dances. And I give them the information. I say, look up Katey Red!” New Orleans bounce collides with New York vogue for the very first time, with Red co-hosting the dance clash as part of the two-day One Million Square Feet of Culture [1MSQFT] event. “People are realizing that voguing is not just a gay dance, everybody can do it,” says New York’s voice of the ballroom Jack Mizrahi. “We’re enjoying the synergy right now, to finally have a battle against bounce—a couple of weeks ago it was breakdancing vs. vogue. It’s become it’s own dance spectacle.” The event was curated by New Orleans Airlift, a crew founded by curator and DJ Jay Pennington aka Rusty Lazer and visual artist Delaney Martin to support the city’s artists in response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. “As a metaphor, gumbo works really well,” says Pennington, who also organized a rally to close the weekend and celebrate NOLA’s creative underground, set on the dusty grounds under the Ninth Ward Bridge. “You can’t deny that New Orleans is the kind of place that stews and grows really organically. This is just the beginning of bounce.” Captured by Court13, the filmmaking collective behind director Benh Zeitlin’s Louisiana-set fantasy Beasts of the Southern Wild, today’s film goes behind the scenes of the rehearsals for the ball at the city’s Wax Museum. Red, one of the city’s first openly gay MCs, hosted the ‘meeting of courts’ alongside fellow bounce poster queens, Big Freedia and Sissy Nobby, and vogue legend Mizrahi. “The first time I got on the mic was October 21, 1998. I would get on stage looking like Beyonce,” she says, “but then start acting like Nicki Minaj.”

    Find out more about One Million Square Feet of Culture’s series of curated events here.

    (Read More)

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