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J.M. WESTON INVITES

ANDRé

When André decided to make his film debut with a short film focused on a pair of shoes, he would once again join forces with J.M. Weston and the company's artistic director, Michel Perry.
André was born in Sweden in 1971. Growing up, his years were spent between Paris and Lisbon. From a very early age, walls became his playground: “The street became my workshop. Drawing graffiti is a way of not giving in to the city; a way of taking possession of it.” For him, graffiti exists in its own right, and belongs as much to the walls as to the passers-by.
His interest in very different worlds and his ability to make them come together led him to create and to take part in a number of international projects. He also publishes and promotes young artists. Today, André divides his life between Paris and New York.

A FILM BY

ANDRÉ SARAIVA

" In America, in the 80's, people used to steal your Air Jordans; in France they would steal your J.M. Westons ! "

tells André, who got inspired by his own teenage memories to make his film debut. By developing a plot around the symbols of the J.M. Weston universe, André chose to invite the Parisian institution into his own imagination.
The shoemaker was an especially appropriate partner for André since the film itself hints at the highlights of J.M. Weston's history, such a sthe youth revolt of the 1970's, which have a new edge to Dad's traditional moccasins, and the aesthetes of the 1980's, who treated their shoes as quasi-religious objects. The script gently pokes fun at the myths that surround us and the social and cultural frictions between the bourgeoisie with a false veneer of good behaviour, and rebellious rockers who aren't quite so bad after all. The whole story is set against a backdrop of pretty girls and hordes of Parisians... wearing moccasin !

ANDRÉ SARAIVA

NTERVIEWED BY MARIE MAERTENS
10 février, 2012
How did the idea for this film come about?

I had a first meeting with J.M. Weston  when I designed a pair of shoes for them. It went quite well. Then I had this idea for a film in which I talked about my own experience when I was about 20, between the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s. So the aesthetic approach was closely linked to my post-adolescence. Weston shoes have always been iconic. Already at this time they represented a symbol of wealth, as much for yobs as for middle-class boys. The brand became one of the characters of the story, which was built around the idea of having one’s shoes stolen. That happens maybe a bit less often nowadays…

You talk about an aesthetic approach evoking the late 1980s, but the looks (slicked back hair and leather for boys, short kilts and white socks for girls) seem to be even older, don't they?

Yes, you can imagine you’re back in the 1950s or 60s also, but this fashion also existed into the 1980s and it still persists today. The college and preppy looks echo it. I used retro references in the wider sense. I remember that this trendy look was favoured not only by middle-class boys but also by street yobs who wanted to dress well. Just like the snappy dressers who wanted to get some street cred. There was an overlap on both sides.

On subject i get the feeling that you also played with the clichés and the ideas that Americans might have of Paris…

Absolutely, the whole film turns on the look of things, the way an American would see Paris. I did not depict reality as it exists, but my own reality.

Why did you choose those very soft beige and grey tones?

I worked with a Danish cinematographer whose aesthetic approach is typical of his country, especially in this choice of rather neutral colours. They are milky tones evoking autumn and winter. They are also the tones of a difficult start to the day, which fit in  very well with the story.

This slowness and the storyline also depict rather contemplative young people…

Yes, because looking is one of life’s pleasures. We’re always told to act, do something, produce, etc. But it’s nice to take time off to dream. It’s more important than success.

Is it cooler to wear one’s Westons without socks, as in the film?

In summer, yes, maybe, but with long socks you look even more chic!

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