What do you get when you combine a controversial director, a pair of iconic British actors, and a famous Italian fashion house? That question was answered this week at the Cannes Film Festival, where Prada debuted a short film from Roman Polanski starring Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter. The result of their collaboration, titled "A Therapy," turns out to be a delightful (and impeccably stylish) little gem of a story.
Kingsley stars as a quiet psychiatrist, while Bonham Carter, refreshingly free of her usual Burton-esque attire, plays his haute-bourgeois patient. Bonham Carter, wearing a splendid violet Prada fur coat (all the clothes were created exclusively for the film), enters the doctor's beautifully decorated office to take her dose of the talking cure. After removing her coat and kicking off her (Prada-labled) shoes, she begins to prattle on about her various problems—the loneliness, the daddy issues, the curse of wealth—as the doctor attempts to listen. But he's more absorbed with his patient's luxurious fur coat hanging on a rack across the room, which he sneaks away to fondle and try on while preening in front of a mirror. The woman, oblivious to what's occurring behind her chaise longue, asks, "Oh doctor, what does it mean? What does it all mean?" Rather than attempting to answer, the doctor ecstatically sweeps the fur collar across his face, as the words "Prada Suits Everyone" appear over the frozen shot.
It's a well-known fact that fashion films, with their grim-faced writhing models and absurd voiceovers, are a generally absurd art form. But lucky for Polanski, Prada happens to be a high fashion house with an actual sense of humor. As a result, "A Therapy" manages to captivate its viewer with an unexpected wink while still exhibiting the Prada aesthetic. Luxury brands, take note: You could learn a thing or two from this three-minute session.