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7th September 2021
Dark twists of humour
Title of film: Situationist, Heist!
Director: Jordan Blady
Production Company: Metro Production
US-Paris based director Jordan Blady talks with Niccolo Montanari about the appeal of French caper films and what draws him to shoot in Georgia

In your description you mentioned how Heist! is inspired by French caper films of the early 1970s, especially Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge. Can you share the specific elements that inspired you and how you decided to include them?

Le Cercle Rouge has been one of my favorites since I was a kid and I think it’s because I’m so attracted to that specific tonality Melville nailed – the perfect balance of comedy, suspense and aesthetic beauty comes off as so effortlessly cool. I tried to bring that into Heist! despite my film having a more absurd plot. My hope was to create something that was a bit of a parody, but a loving one full of admiration for its inspiration.

 

Vogue Italia, From Beyond

 

You refer to Heist! as “three minutes of stylish comedy that never takes itself too seriously”. Comedy is a particularly tricky genre to get right, but it’s something that is an intrinsic part of your work. How do you get comedy right and manage to stay away from it being cringeworthy? 

I appreciate the compliment because you can never be too sure with comedy. It’s true that I’m especially fond of it and writing successful jokes, whether through dialogue or purely visual means, is something I’m always trying to get better at. I think Heist! works well structurally with a steady pace of comic beats without dragging on for too long. My first feature, Softness of Bodies, is a film with a single punchline that either gets a laugh or the whole thing doesn’t work. I can’t think of too many films that operate like this, but Blow Out by DePalma does something similar, and I always thought it was a brilliant gamble.

 

For this production you’ve collaborated with Georgian fashion label Situationist. However Heist! is not a fashion film, rather it could be perceived as a subtle piece of branded content. What’s your experience of working with brands and would you say they tend to be open to non-traditional forms of advertising?

I think when brands allow the director to take more creative freedom, as long as there’s ample trust, the outcome is often one that everyone is happy with. Too many cooks in the kitchen always creates issues, but sometimes good notes are essential. When I worked on Thom Browne’s Who Let the Bags Out? campaign I was given total freedom with just a few parameters. I really enjoyed the process and the result, and the brand did as well. I often work directly with clients and I find the relationship and experience, which is obviously more intimate, much more rewarding in the end.

 

Dazed, Comfort Zone

 

Heist! is the third film you shot in Georgia, after From Beyond and Comfort Zone. How did you end up working in Georgia? How easy is it to set up a production over there? And what are the advantages?

I absolutely love shooting in Georgia. I first went a few years ago to make From Beyond, which was a collaboration with local designer Gola Damian, and I fell in love with the place. It was on that trip that I also met Matt Shally, who is both the subject of my short documentary Comfort Zone and one of the stars of Heist!. I always work with my friends at Metro Production who are extremely supportive of whatever vision I have for a project. I was saddened to read about the recent violence on the LGBTQ+ community during pride events in Tbilisi, but unfortunately it’s not terribly surprising. While we were shooting Comfort Zone for example, there was a massive protest against the release of the Georgian film And Then We Danced. It’s a shame to see such a severe dichotomy within the city as my Georgian friends and those I work with in Tbilisi tend to be an extremely progressive group of people.

 

Somebody

 

You’ve recently also released Somebody – a fashion film which is an adaptation of Czech literary poet and model Bad’a Diaby. What were the main challenges in adapting a poem into cinematic language?

Even though Bada trusted me to create my own interpretation, the biggest challenge was to make something that felt authentic to her. I knew that it was a very personal poem for Bada and finding the right tone while editing was difficult I felt while editing. In the end, we had a film we were both happy with, and I think that was because I focused on trying to understand Bada’s feelings about the poem before even considering how to shoot it.

 

What will you be working on next?

I’d like to work on as many narrative projects as possible, another feature for sure, and definitely short narrative content for brands. 

 

Jordan Blady website

Rep: Excuse My French website

Niccolo Montanari website

Credits

Situationist, Heist!

 

Production Company: Metro Production
Executive Producer: Sandro Gabilaia
Head of Production: Maia Gurabanidze
Bidding Producer: Masho Tevdorashvili

Director: Jordan Blady
DOP: Igor Smitka
Producer: Ninia Sherpa
Production Manager: Tato Pantsulaia
1st Ad: Nutsa Zangurashvili
Production Design: Slow Pulse
Mariam Iakobashvili
George Karalashvili
Melano Zibzibadze
Dato Daraselia
Nino Daraselia
Ketevan Nozadze
Temo Janezashvili
Goga Gochelashvili
Nikusha Kekemashvili
Stunt Driver: Giorgi Komakhidze

Costume Designer: SITUATIONIST
MUA: Keto Chantadze
Gaffer: Giorgi Gogatishvili
Lighting: Shalva Leluashvili, Beka Kharaishvili, Giorgi Gogbaidze
Focus Puller: Guri Odisharia
Stedicam: Rati Gogatishvili
Playback: Koba
Dolly / Crane: Giorgi Zakaidze, Dimitri Zakaidze
Sound: Saba Shonia