On the 15th anniversary of its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, Sally Potter’s film, RAGE will be released as it was originally conceived, on Instagram, as a series of real-time posts over seven days, starting on 23 February.
This will be the first feature film to be released on Instagram.
The film was prophetic in 2009 but is still ahead of its time: the first feature specifically designed to be watched on smartphones, using a cinematic syntax that is inherent to the medium.
Michelangelo, an unseen schoolboy armed only with a mobile phone, goes behind the scenes at a New York fashion show during seven days in which an accident on the catwalk turns into a murder investigation, and his interviews with key players become a bitterly funny expose of an industry in crisis.
The story unfolds shot by shot, over the period of the week in which Michelangelo shoots and posts his interviews. The film was shot as a series of to-camera monologues. These will be released in sequence across a 7-day period from Friday 23rd February, with each shot as a new Instagram post, posted throughout the day.
15 years on from the original release, the technology that the story is based on – a phone-camera in the hands of a 12-year-old boy, posting interviews to an audience in a way that an older generation could barely believe possible - has come to be more real, powerful and omni-present than was imaginable back then. When RAGE was filmed, few people had video-enabled mobile phones and the iPhone was still a new toy. Only now will the film be fully experienced as it was conceived and shot.
QUESTION: RAGE is a murder mystery set in the New York fashion world, but where you never see New York, the fashion world, or the murders. Why?
SALLY POTTER: We have been so oversaturated with images of the fashion world that we can no longer see beyond them. Similarly, New York itself is, in a way, overfamiliar. Thus the solution of not showing the city or the fashion collection; the world around the characters is created in the imagination of the viewer, from clues on the soundtrack, from things people say and things they don’t say.
Q: There is a detective in the film, but – unusually for a thriller – he’s not our POV character.
SP: This particular detective is atypical, in that he's a Shakespeare-quoting character, somebody who sees himself performing a role – the role of detective – and dresses for the part.
Q: As do all the characters – none of whom are what they appear.
SP: We live in a culture obsessed by appearance and fame, but parts of the fashion industry are dependent on an illegal workforce, whose invisibility is a survival strategy. Likewise, Michelangelo (who is interviewing the characters) is invisible and unheard throughout, a diminutive witness whose steady eye and non-judgmental gaze allows the characters to open up to him.
Q: He’s invisible, but making others visible – especially the people we don’t usually see, like the garment workers and bodyguards.
SP: Maybe it’s his antidote to a value system based on celebrity, power and wealth. He is equally interested in the pizza delivery person and the mogul.
Q: Was that reflected in how this film was made?
SP: Everyone worked on equal terms for very little money. Each actor gave themselves completely to the situation without complaint and with great dedication.
Q: It sounds like just the film for the “credit crunch” era. Was that part of your intention?
SP: I saw it as a celebration of “poor cinema”; using minimal means, concentrating on text and performance, a return to the basic elements of storytelling by exploring the landscape of the human face. It's the lowest budget feature film I've ever made, shot in photographers’ studios, using a greenscreen as background. On set, there were only three of us at any time; the actor, me, operating the camera, and Jean-Paul Mugel recording the sound. The process was as intimate as the final product.
Q: So the film was shot as if you were Michelangelo?
SP: Yes. At times, I tried to embody him, and to shoot and frame following his emotional responses to the character. But as a director it also meant I was extremely close to each actor physically and we were able to work very intensely, a luxury that this minimalist setup afforded us.
Q: Is the film a rage against fashion’s constructions and impossible aspirations?
SP: Actually, there's a lot of tenderness in the film. The setting may be the fashion world but the issues could apply to people working in any high-pressure industry – the dynamics of power and powerlessness, fears of redundancy and failure, confusion about youth and ageing. The rage is the quieter rage against an economy that ruins lives and turns people into things, that forgets what's important about being alive.
Interview by So Mayer, author of The Cinema of Sally Potter.
PATRICK J ADAMS
|CHRISTINA WEISS LURIE
Director of Photography
|STEVEN FIERBERG ASC
Additional photography by
Digital Imaging Technician
|LAW OFFICE DIANE GELON
Hair/Make-up Artist for Judi Dench
|LINDA DE VETTA
Hair/Make-up Artist for Jude Law
Hair/Make-up Artist for Lily Cole
Assistant Costume Designer
|ANGELS THE COSTUMIERS
|CARLO MANZI RENTALS
NEW YORK CREW
|ANGELA C. LEE
Assistant Production Coordinator
Assistant to Andrew Fierberg
Key Production Assistant
Hair/Make-up Artist for Lily Cole
Assistant Re-recording Mixer
Additional Sound Effects recording
ADR recorded at
Foley recorded at
Original music by
|SALLY POTTER and FRED FRITH
Music recorded at
|THE PREMISES STUDIOS
|AMOR Y CELOS
Performed by Juan D’Arienzo
Composed by Padula/Roldan
Published by Perrolli (SADAIC)
(P) RCA-BMG (Argentina) 1965
Digital Colour by
Head of Digital Cinema
|CAÏQUE DE SOUZA
Grader/ Laboratory Coordination
|D.R. REIFF & ASSOCIATES
|LABORATOIRE ARANE GULLIVER
Head of Production
FOR UK FILM COUNCIL
Head of New Cinema Fund
Head of Production Finance
Head of Physical Production
Senior Executive New Cinema Fund
Senior Business Affairs Executive
|SIX SALES ENTERTAINMENT
Distribution Advisory Services
With thanks to
|Amos Field Reid
|Auberge de Chassignolles
|Cargo ‘Blu Ray’ Make Up
|Emile and friends
The events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or firms is purely coincidental.
Ownership of this motion picture is protected by copyright and other applicable laws in the United States and other countries, and any unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition of this motion picture could result in criminal prosecution as well as civil liability.
|In association with
Made with the support of the
UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund
|Developed with the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Community
© Adventure Pictures (Rage) Limited & UK Film Council 2009