David O. Russell Made a Mindbending Film for Prada.

By  · Published on November 25th, 2016

Short of the Day

Past Forward is a silent, black-and-white “surreal dreamscape.”

Though he’s currently at work on the untitled HBO series starring Robert DeNiro and Julianne Moore, David O. Russell took a little time away from that project to conceive and direct the following 12-minute silent, black-and-white film that doubles as a long-form advertisement for the Prada fashion house and is described as “a surreal dreamscape with an eclectic cast replaying scenes in shifting combinations.” That’s slightly vague, so let me break it down: Allison Williams (Girls), Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Kuoth Wiel (The Good Lie) play different iterations of the same dreaming actress in three alternating scenes that involve a supporting cast including John Krasinski (13 Hours), Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Jack Huston (Ben-Hur), Connie Britton (TV’s Friday Night Lights), and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat). It previously screened at Milan Fashion Week back in September, but had its U.S. release at an event in Los Angeles earlier this month then debuted online after that.

Though narratively it strays from most of Russell’s other material, there are definitely familiar elements fans of his work will notice, especially the ballroom scene, which is reminiscent of the third act of Silver Linings Playbook in a very hallucinatory, Old-Hollywood sort of way.

Russell hasn’t made a short since Soldier’s Pay in 2004, which was a documentary that had two other directors as well. His last narrative short, Hairway to the Stars, was made way back in 1989, five years before Spanking the Monkey would launch his feature career. Past Forward marks the first time Russell has worked in black-and-white, or without dialogue. Check it out below, and keep your eyes peeled for more info on that upcoming HBO series, it’ shooting now for a 2017 release.

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