Four minutes to tell a story, four minutes to fall in love with an enchanted villa and its flowers: it’s a challenging purpose but, after all, it’s Baz Luhrmann we’re talking about.
“Erdem X H&M: The Secret Life of the Flowers” is a piece of art that works as an opulent, beautifully crafted frame for the flower-patterned dresses of the new H&M Collab with the London-based label Erdem. Erdem is known for dressing stars such as Emma Stone, Keira Knightley and Nicole Kidman, and, since the beginning, all its collections have featured flowery and elegant dresses.
Produced by Biscuit Filmworks, the new exclusive track “Hypnotised” by Years & Years follows through the narration of “Erdem X H&M: the Secret Life of Flowers”, in a world of refined flower scenographies designed by Catherine Martin as a clear reference to Erdem’s famous recurring pattern.
However, the genius touch of Baz Luhrmann who directed Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby is unmistakably clear in the dreamy voice of the characters and the brief, but touching, narrative.
The shortcut begins with two boys on a yellow convertible, directed to “Reddham Gardens”, a country mansion where it’s said to always be spring. The blonde boy driving (Tom Harris) is returning home, while the protagonist, portrayed by Hero Tiffin, is following him.
We see that the majestic house hosts an entire cast of models and actors, each and everyone with the delicate beauty of a blossom. An extradiegetic voice, which will be revealed as no one else but the lady of the house, portrayed by actress Harriet Walter, takes us in a world of classic architecture and colorful, wild flowers, speaking the words: “Normality is but a paved road. Comfortable to walk, yes, but no flowers grow on it”.
The two protagonists are heartily welcomed in the fairy-like forest of the mansion, but it’s on the marble porch that we meet the third side of an unspoken love triangle: a young girl in a long, black silk dress with red roses.
Ruby Dagnall plays the androgynous love interest of Hero Tiffin’s character, an androgynous vision: their love becomes real when they share a passionate kiss in the garden, during a hide-and-seek game, under the sad and surprised eyes of the blonde boy.
In the end, however, the love triangle seems to work out and becomes a free, uncaring and polyamorous relationship, but this is just one of the many hints given by the story, exactly as it made clear that the two boys were in love without ever speaking it out loud.
In the end, the power of the narration is, frankly, so strong it could be defined upsetting.
In four minutes Luhrmann not only manages to write a theoretically perfect story, with real plot-twists and a compelling rhythm, but he also orchestrates an entire world of unsaid.The potential inside the story is enormous: the environment, the characters and the dresses collaborate in creating a masterpiece of the genre.
“I wanted the film to be like a whole movie.” says the director and scriptwriter, casting a light on the deep poetry behind this feature film. “It’s a very modern love story, set in a country house that is full of its own secrets and it’s like a metaphor for our times – it’s harsh out there in the world, but in here, the things that really matter keep growing in an eternal spring“.
It takes us through a world of beauty and, even when the scene shows something that closely resembles a fashion shooting, the atmosphere still reminds us of something unreal – a metaphor, exactly, and a dream.
A Neverland of some sort where youth, poetry, flowers and love are the only answers possible.
The story unfolds with bright colors and a lively, interesting rhythm, leaving the audience to slowly fall in love with the characters, giving purpose and life to the beautiful dresses of Erdem x H&M.
We honestly, and deeply, wish that this feature film was longer.