The waiting. The arrival. Seduction. Flesh. Directorial duo Antoine Asseraf and René Habermacher‘s “Erotic fashion epic” for Parisian based label Erotokritos, Monsieur Chypre, begins with all the heady excitement of any blossoming romance. You can watch the video here. The viewer is vicariously seduced through the role of the nymph-like leading lady who we meet as she lounges in Louis Vuitton leopard print pyjamas. This aura of careless, impenetrable cool is maintained until, unable to resist her daring suitor, she yields and the facade is broken.
Like all good love stories, what begins as a playful game of cat and mouse ends in unavoidable heartbreak. Whilst the Parisian woman is far from an untouched damsel in distress she underestimates what she is up against—”to him, it was always a child’s play, of which he doesn’t realise the cruelty”. The viewer alone is accorded the knowledge of Monsieur Chypre‘s animalistic, untameable nature through the words of warning from the all knowing narrator. Like those who passed before her the ill fated mouse already belongs to her prey and the audience can merely watch on—unable to save her, they enjoy the chase.
The striking landscapes lent to the film, which was shot across Paris and the island of Cyprus, are used to striking effect by Asseraf and Habermacher. One can almost feel the balmy but restrictive, cloying heat of Nicosia as they watch the lust and longing of the lovers plays out as against the stirring of palm trees. The old and new worlds collide as we watch ladies peg their laundry by hand as they have done for centuries, unaware of the tumultous romance that parallels but so hugely diverges from their monotony.
Life goes on as another heart is broken by Monsieur Chypre and the cycle repeats. Attempts to resist are futile, just give in…