Agnes Trouble is known to the world as fashion designer of her namesake brand, agnes b. Marking her directorial debut, film “Je m'appelle Hmmm… (My Name is Hmmm…)”, was screened in the “Special Screening Section” at Tokyo Filmex. The film had already been shown at the Venice International Film Festival in the Orizzonti (Horizon) Section, which introduces new trends, and it has also won the “Children Protection Award” at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Visiting Japan for the first time as a film director, Agnes Trouble shared with us her thoughts on film making.

Film, says Agnes, is incomparable with fashion as both are part of her life. Ardent to support those who share her love for cinema, Agnes founded her own film production company, Love Stream Production in 1997.

“Ever since I was a child, I've loved writing stories, and I always got excellent grades in French. You can even say it's only by pure chance that I've turned out to be a fashion designer. I've been longing to make films for a very long time.”

Agnes’s love for film doesn’t come as a surprise, considering how she unravels a story during her 15 minute runway shows as if it were a scene from a movie. For her latest collection, Agnes held the camera in her own hands and took photographs to make a short movie to complete her ideal image. That's how she learned storyline compositions, shot frames, and cinematographic editing, says the film loving designer; and little by little, at her own pace, Agnes became acquainted with the art of film-making.

“My Name is Hmmm…” is a road movie of an 11 year old girl, who runs away from home in order to escape from her abusive father, and a truck driver who has lost all meaning of life.

“I’ve had the idea for this film long before I started Love Stream Production. The film’s theme of domestic violence is a grave, pandemic problem that children, regardless of where he or she lives, may fall victim to. “Hmmm…” was screened in countries with differing cultures and customs, but I’ve had empathetic responses everywhere it showed,” recounts Agnes.

Starting out in Vienna, “My Name is Hmmm…” was screened at New York, Abu Dhabi, and Tokyo and will continue to tour France, Moscow, and Hong Kong film festivals. In France, an association fighting to protect children from domestic violence advocated by actress Carole Bouquet has voiced its support for “Hmmm…”

FILM AND FASHION

Designer Agnes employs collages, laying images upon images, to tell her story in fashion. The same method is found in “My Name is Hmmm…”. Scenes of “the girl’s family” and “the road trip with the truck driver” are assembled together with “still landscapes”, “truck driver’s monotone memory”, “cities with strong contrasts”, “daydreamish scene with white butoh dancers” and various picturesque cuts. The result is a film saturated with a poetic air iconic of Agnes.

“I use collages to arrange my works. People who know me say that this film is very like me. I arranged the frameworks, held the camera, and did the editing with my own hands. I worked on all the processes, never compromised, and made the movie that I’ve been longing to make for myself. I wasn’t bounded by cinematic rules and created just as I felt, in a very free way.”

“Agnes-ism” prevails to the smallest details. “My passport says that my occupation is a stylist. I’ve always loved styling. Whether it be art, clothes, film, or photograph, I like to choose and combine different elements together. The scene where the girl is waving a red striped flag on the beach is like combining sky blue and red border stripes together in fashion. The dotted curtain on the solitary driver’s big red truck is a shirt fabric from the men’s collection a few seasons back. The sensibility to use that chromatic dotted cloth for curtains isn’t so farfetched for a manly Scottish driver, I think.”

Will there be a next film in the near future? “It’s a secret for now. But I can tell you that my mind is full of ideas,” replied Agnes before heading out to the reception.