Miu Miu unveiled the latest instalment in their Women’s Tales film series in New York over New York Fashion Week. Seed is directed by the Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase whose most recent film Still The Water was in the main competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
On a snowy New York afternoon, Kawase admitted to not knowing much about Miu Miu, or Prada for that matter, prior to being approached by them. 'I saw the collection and I was inspired by the fabrics, the chiffon, and the vivid colors', the director said a few hours before the screening. She had already wanted to work with the actress Sakura Ando, whom Kawase described as 'naturally wild, a very vivid actress - she's very athletic, like cloth' and, rather serendipitously, the turning fall colours of the trees around her reminded her of those nice clothes that she saw at Miu Miu.
Such appreciation for natural beauty is a running thread throughout Kawase’s work, often shot in her birthplace, Nara. Seed also begins in the forests and waterfalls of Nara before we, alongside Sakura’s character, are transported right in the middle of Tokyo’s urban cacophony. Is this then another argument for nature over city? Refreshingly, the answer is no. 'There is nature in the city as well' the director argues, 'I am not denying the urban lifestyle, we should accept what’s around us.' In fact, Seed celebrates the human, and it can be argued particularly female, talent for adapting to our surroundings and learning from them. Like Sakura’s strange fairy of a creature who exchanges an apple for a piece of chiffon with an old homeless man. He marvels at the beauty of the fruit, she plays with the billowing material in the streets of Tokyo. 'She came to the city and gained a new world so when she returns to nature, to the water she came from, she’s not the same anymore. It’s a new beginning', Kawase explains. 'It doesn’t matter where you are, you can explore, learn and adapt' and then adds, 'Even in wild nature there’ something artificial.'
Interestingly, Kawase felt liberated as a filmmaker working on a project for a fashion brand. 'This was the first time I was asked to make the project as freely as I wished', she exclaims. This new experience gave her a new appreciation of collaboration – for example, she worked with the Japanese band Sakanaction on the film’s score, which blends natural and digital sounds. 'More possibilities', she repeats to underscore her point.