The film explores the life and creative work of Enfants Riches Déprimés founder Henri Alexander Levy.



Watch The Trailer For The New 'Aluminium Tastes Like Fear' Film

Calling all film buffs: Aluminium Tastes Like Fear is the newest, honesty-driven documentary you didn’t know you needed.

Created by Andre Bato and Henri Alexander Levy, the documentary focuses on Levy and his artistic and creative process as the designer behind the brand Enfants Riches Déprimés. Filmed on a handheld VHS, the creators behind the film prioritized a sense of honesty in each shot and compositional frame, shirking away from the inauthenticity of staged sets.

Watch the trailer for the film above, and check out our interview with Andre Bato himself to learn more about what it was like to create such a dark documentary, work with such an elusive subject, and see how they came up with the name, Aluminium Tastes Like Fear.

How did you get started as a filmmaker? Have you always had an interest in making films, or was it a natural progression from your passion for photography?

Filmmaking kind of fell into my lap—truth be told I never really aspired to make videos, or films. I used to work with fashion photographers, developing concepts and doing creative and art direction, but once the demand for digital fashion films became something that couldn’t be avoided, my focus had to pivot in that direction. It was surprisingly organic for me, the whole entire process from pre to post production, and it came with an array of new approaches, new techniques and new ways to experiment that were extremely refreshing for me as a creative. With film, the conversation is (obviously) different, you’re allowed to hit your viewer with a whole new bag of tricks that are at your disposal. The overall process is more arduous, but that eventually translates into an even better feeling when you achieve what you had initially envisioned and the audience responds to it. Now my company mostly produces videos, consult and does creative direction, but film is really our forte. If someone had said to me four or five years ago that I would be asked about my career as a filmmaker I would not have believed them.

So, you just released the trailer for the film, Aluminium Tastes Like Fear. Can you tell me about it?

The film is about Henri Alexander, the mind behind Enfants Riches Déprimés. It’s a peek at him as a designer and artist within the world that he has managed to create. He’s always been quite elusive to the public and this is the first time you will truly be exposed to his world.

What drew you to the subject, designer Henri Alexander Levy? What made you want to work with him?

Henri and I went to the same school but didn’t speak once during that time. I would see his work here and there and was always fascinated by it, it always stood out—I’d walk into a student exhibit and could tell who was just there to follow the rules and the assignment—it was underwhelming every time. His work felt like it was not supposed to be there, almost as if there was a mixup and the work of a student from another course was hung up in the exhibition by mistake. The reality is that Henri doesn’t give a fuck, he’s unapologetic, and most importantly he’s extremely honest—I think it’s that honesty that eventually lead us to work together later on and it’s what makes this film one of the most interesting pieces I’ve had the chance to make.

The film, which was taped on a handheld VHS camera, lends itself to a stark and gritty landscape. What made you decide to make this stylistic choice? Were you inspired by the subject, Henri, or were you drawn to Henri because of your conceived vision?

It actually started with the camera. We were in Paris at the time and Henri was preparing for a fashion show. I had just bought this JVC off of eBay and we decided to film him throughout those couple of hectic days. The footage of the show’s BTS was great, but there were also instances of Henry running around, or painting, that had a lot of character, to the point that we decided not to release the BTS and make something bigger out of it. We’ve been shooting seriously on and off for the past two years—whenever our schedules would permit—and his fashion show for FW 2018 was the last thing that we decided to capture for the film itself, it felt like the right time at this point in his career as an artist and painter.

How did you and Henri choose the name, Aluminium Tastes Like Fear, for the film?

Henri came up with the title actually, we had a few options but then one night he called me and said, “this will probably be my best contribution to the film, Aluminium Tastes Like Fear, I wanted to use it for my solo show in Shanghai but let’s use it as the title for the film.” I ran with it because I like the way it sounds. We send each other sentences/words and voice memos…. not because of their meaning but mostly because of the phonetics—personally, I like to put more weight on how something sounds phonetically than its connotation, especially when dealing with titles, typography, and really anything language based. Aluminium Tastes Like Fear doesn’t have a set connotation, what’s important is that once you see the film, you’ll understand what Aluminium Tastes Like Fear looks like.

Is there a specific audience you had in mind when creating the film?

Not at all, quite the opposite. We never had a conversation about who is going to watch this, why they would watch it, who is going to love it, or who is going to hate it. The second you have an audience in mind, at least if you know what you are doing, you start capturing footage and translating it for their perception, who they are, what they desire, what they fear etc. so that you manipulate your content and subsequently craft the message you want to deliver. Here the goal was to make the piece and make it genuinely period. There’s no hidden agenda, and quite frankly no specific message.

Are there any exciting plans that you have in the works for the remainder of the year?

I’m working with a lot of artists, painters, musicians and designers who I admire. The most important thing to me is to be inspiring and being inspired by the people around me. Ultimately the idea is to not only document artists’ lives but also give ourselves a space where we can create and show our work collectively.

Featured image courtesy of Andre Bato

Stay tuned to Milk for more creatives to watch. 

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