Transforming Baustelle’s lyrics about the fleeting nature of all things leading to a romantic betrayal, and the voracious spirit of track namesake Amanda Lear – French model, disco icon and muse to the likes of David Bowie and Salvador Dalí – TO GUYS introduce us to the darkly seductive delights of a brief nightclub encounter with love and violence. DN talks tight turnarounds, inflexible location owners and a refusal fall into a recognisable creative pattern with the Italian directing duo.
What was the concept behind this nightclub based music video?
The song named Amanda Lear has a really simple plot: she loves him and he loves her, but she repeats every day that “nothing lasts forever”. He takes her words quite literally and decides to cheat on her at the first opportunity. All of this is narrated between the present and flash back. The song takes its title from the name of a notorious Italian-French singer and showgirl from the 70s. She posed for Salvador Dali and had a relationship with David Bowie at the time. She is without any doubt an ambiguous character, always playing with her sexual nature. She’s a magnificent woman, a spectacular name, and a facsimile of a disco music LP (dancing from side A to side B, and that’s that). Amanda Lear has everything and nothing to do with it, she’s there and she isn’t, like any respectable god.
We were immediately seduced by the idea of building a story around an ambiguous character that could spread love and promiscuity in a grotesque realm.
Also, the album of the song L’Amore e la Violenza (Love and Violence) talks about love in times of war, about love in a violent context. These are the reasons why we felt the urge of narrating a world that had these elements in it. We were immediately seduced by the idea of building a story around an ambiguous character that could spread love and promiscuity in a grotesque realm. As the lyrics suggest “nothing lasts forever”, we felt it was important to give a violent and immediate epilogue to our story.
The schedule for turning the project around was fairly accelerated wasn’t it?
The production was set very quickly, it took 2 weeks to write it, 1 to organize the troupe and a day of shooting inside the club. Then it was released two days after the shoot, that was the challenging part. We owe a lot to the amazing crew that worked with us, which ran for 9 hours without a second of stop, making the one-day-shooting possible.
How did you maximise that single day of filming inside the club?
We had to make it in 9 hours of shooting, so we filmed the first three long shots first thing. They were the most complicate and difficult to set up, so once we were done with those, we knew how much time was left to shoot the other scenes. Then we moved as fast as possible trying to keep up the good mood on set, even when it seemed impossible to get it done with every scene. Also, the location owners weren’t the most pleasant people in town so that was another factor to be reactive and aware that at 6.45pm the set would close.
What was your set up?
We mainly shot everything with an Arri Amira mounted on the steadicam. We used as few lights as possible. For budget and timing reasons we decided to use lots of practical lights. We have to say, in the end that was a great choice from our DP Giacomo Frittelli, since those neon lights and the table lamps gave the right atmosphere to the frame.
Were you able to capture everything you’d planned?
Finally yes. The last scene we shot was the one with the dancers around the mirror pole. We were already like 10 minutes over-time, so we shot it as fast as possible, but we got it.
I’m presuming that the looming deadline left little room for any experimentation during the edit?
Fortunately that wasn’t a big issue, since the video is mainly long takes, and we were clear in our minds how it would be edited. The only tricky part was the party scene, there were too many good faces not to use every single frame. Also since it was shot at 100fps we had like 40 minutes of party footage to go through.
What will we see next from To Guys?
We’re planning a sci-fi short, and we’re working on a couple of very different projects. Our objective is to surprise the viewer as much as possible, so we don’t want anyone to be expecting anything in particular from us. When something else comes up, one shouldn’t immediately guess it’s us.