British film-maker Edgar Wright said he drew inspiration from the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Italian horror director Dario Argento to depict the dark side of London in his psychological thriller “Last Night in Soho”.
The film, premiering out of competition at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, follows a student enamoured with the 1960s. She heads to London intent on becoming a fashion designer.
The dream turns into a nightmare as she finds herself transported back in time and inhabiting the life of Sandie. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Sandie, an aspiring singer.
“A dark valentine to Soho”
Wright started working on the idea more than a decade ago. He called the film a “dark valentine to Soho”. Much of the film’s action takes place in that part of central London area, once seen as a seedy part of the city.
Wright asked the Venice audiences not to divulge too much of the plot ahead of its release next month. He told journalists ‘Last Night in Soho’ seeks to show romanticising the past can be dangerous.
“I love London, but there’s a lot to fear about it as well, so you have a conflicted relationship with the city … (Bad) things that are happening now were happening then,” Wright said.
The film nonetheless pays tribute to the style, fashion and music of the Swinging Sixties. “An Education” costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux helped recreate the atmosphere with some wonderful designs.
Hard to tell reality from hallucination
The film features dream-like mirror work between the two main characters, deliberately making it hard for viewers to tell reality from hallucination.
“Having something that requires such synchronicity between not just the two of us but the camera as well, we really had to be focused on the other individual,” Taylor-Joy said.
Taylor-Joy said filming of most of the mirror scenes was live on set, not reproduced in post-production.