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Prada-Produced Short by Roman Polanski Airs in Cannes

The film, called “A Therapy,” stars Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter.

FASHION THERAPY: Jean Paul Gaultier’s nomination as a member of this year’s jury for the Cannes International Film Festival created major buzz, but few knew about a strictly under-wraps Prada-produced Roman Polanski-helmed shortie selected for the festival’s official Cannes Classics section. The Oscar-winning director presented a surprise premiere of the work, titled “A Therapy,” in Cannes on Monday prior to the screening of a restored version of his 1979 classic “Tess.”

The new film, which is three minutes and 35 seconds in length, stars British actors Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter playing the roles of a shrink and his bored bourgeois client.

 

As Bonham Carter’s character lies on a couch droning on about her problems, Kingsley's character quietly slips off to stroke her fur coat, which is hanging nearby on a coat stand, before slipping it on and admiring himself in the mirror. In the background, Bonham Carter’s unwitting character sighs, “Oh doctor, what does it mean, what does it all mean?” as the words “Prada Suits Everyone” appear on the screen.

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Bonham Carter’s wardrobe consists of a fur coat, pale blue shirt and orange skirt, accessorized with shades, pearls, gloves and a crocodile bag and shoes. Meanwhile, Kingsley wears a classic gray suit. All costumes were designed by Miuccia Prada exclusively for the film and will not be commercialized. The movie was released on the brand’s Web site at noon today.

“When I was asked to shoot a short movie for Prada, I did not think that I could really be myself, but the reality is that in the total freedom I was given, I had the opportunity to reunite my favorite group of people on set and just have fun,” stated Polanski, who is the subject of a Laurent Bouzereau-directed documentary, “Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir,” screened earlier during the festival. “The chance to dwell on what the fashion world represents nowadays and the fact that it is accompanied by so many stereotypes is fascinating and at the same time a bit upsetting, but you definitely cannot ignore it. It’s very refreshing to know that there are still places open to irony and wit and, for sure, Prada is one of them.”

The project marks the first hook-up with a major director for the luxury house, which is a supporter of up-and-coming film talent. Past initiatives have included the production of two animated films by James Lima: “Trembled Blossoms” and “Fallen Shadows,” in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Prada in January tapped a formidable cast of Hollywood actors to close its fall-winter 2012 men’s show, including Adrien Brody, Tim Roth and Willem Dafoe.

A Prada spokesman said the house has received requests from numerous cinemas around Europe eager to project the new Polanski film as an appetizer to feature films being screened.