Rob Ulitski - 19th Aug 2021

Rose Hendry directs an enigmatic film for Arab Strap's Fable Of The Urban Fox. 

Starring actress Fiona O'Shaugnessy, the video opens with a moment of unhinged violence - the results of which are kept off-screen until the end - and charges into a frantic exploration of one woman's attempts to cover up her crimes... and forgive herself for her actions. 

Shot mostly from a single vantage point with a perpetually rotating camera, the video matches an unsettling serenity with a sense of danger and risk, creating a divergent, contradictory mood throughout.

ROSE HENDRY: 

I wanted to explore the immediate aftermath of the violent event Aidan describes in the lyrics.

"The music and lyrics in Fable Of The Urban Fox are so emotive and visually rich. It’s dark and stormy but there’s also an overall sense of hope in amongst something which ends up violent in imagery.

"When I thought about a fox, I thought about someone trying to survive and someone with a dream. I thought about people who leave home for hope of a better life whether on the edge of existence or for something better than their current. Hope and dreams are what move people.

"I wanted to explore the immediate aftermath of the violent event Aidan describes in the lyrics - for me symbolic of someone who voted for Brexit. I also wanted to explore from the point of view of someone who didn’t believe in Brexit and has an image stuck in their head of who a Brexit voter is - it’s essentially me facing something head on which scares me to talk about. And thanks to this incredibly potent song, I have.

"Reading about the idea of the 'comfortable leavers' rather than the 'left behind' was a shift in perspective for me in the whole Brexit story. I believe the Leave result was traumatic for those who’s settled life it affected, but then seeing the act of this vote as coming from a place of compassion from financially comfortable people who can see hardship on their periphery, it’s all a big contradiction.

"I created a set of visual rules which involved keeping the camera in one fixed position - one perspective, one point of view. Using optics to widen our view as we go, starting on a long, claustrophobic lens, in a downward spiral, widening the view of the beautiful but grimy allotment, we end right down on the ground revealing the tragic end of two people’s lives and the sorrow this woman feels.

Believing in the power of forgiveness... is something I think we need to see more of.

"The film was shot over three hours in one day, from late afternoon to evening, in an allotment in Walthamstow, London, during a week in mid-May that had day after day of torrential downpours of rain. This gave us incredible skies and light which is more than I could have hoped for. I wanted, and had to, embrace what we were given. Fiona O’Shaugnessy, who plays the Woman we named Comfort fed off all of this and more, immersing herself in the moment, including a big rumble of thunder that came just before we started rolling.

"On the surface this is a film that explores this seemingly gentle character’s inner turmoil with what she has done - from savage, self-preservation and protection, through distress and sadness, ending in heartfelt grief. Comfort, in the end, is sorry for what she has done. Believing in the power of forgiveness - if brave enough to see our own mistakes, facing them head on and to learn - is something I think we need to see more of. Especially in Westminster politics."

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorRose Hendry
ProducerBeth Allan
Production CompanyForest Of Black
Director of PhotographyIan Forbes
Focus PullerDavide Scalenghe
ColouristMax Ferguson-Hook
Grading companyTimes Based Arts
CastFiona O'Shaugnessy
LabelRock Action
Other creditsProduction Assistant - JOSEFIN BAGGE Sound Design - MIKE BOVILL, 750MPH

Rob Ulitski - 19th Aug 2021

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