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Last night, nightlife impresario and graffiti artist Andre Saraiva held the kind of screening for his directorial debut The Shoe that most critically lauded directors dream about long after filling their trophy cases with various awards. The third floor of the Standard was packed tight with his friends, socialites, and the sort of people who look oddly familiar in the glossy, impeccably tousled way that makes you think you saw them in a Ray Ban ad or in one of the photos that streamed endlessly out of Coachella.
And while this was certainly the epitome of a party that people attend to see and be seen, attendees left the balcony and open bar to actually watch the film, a surprising thing for a movie created to promote a brand, in this case JM Weston. But with Andre directing, a script co-written by him and Purple Magazine's Olivier Zahm, and a cast including Kid's star Leo Fitzpatrick and Andre's girlfriend Annabelle Dexter-Jones, it was something people wanted to watch instead of feeling obligated because they received free Absolut. In fact, it was so crowded that instead of the scheduled two showing, they screened it three.
The Shoe follows a leather jacket and loafer clad lothario (Fitzpatrick) as he traverses Paris, meets beautiful women, gets laid, gets his shoes stolen, gets them back, and goes to the dentist.
"The shoe thing was a reference to when I was a kid in the 80s; people used to steal expensive cool loafers,” Andre tells Nowness. “In America they used to steal your Air Jordans; in France they would steal J.M. Westons.”
Carlos Mota, Annabelle Dexter-Jones
And for a plot that seems like a half-baked collection of stereotypes, there are three things that standout:
1) It's actually good. It's set entirely to music and has little to no dialogue, but kept everyone's attention. An impressive feat.
2) Annabelle Dexter-Jones is almost entirely nude and has a graphic sex scene. Sitting with her sister Charlotte and mother Anne Dexter-Jones, she got up as her clothes began to come off on screen and walked out of the room. Andre followed and was seen hugging her close to him, which proved to be the right antidote for any fears she was understandably experiencing. She did come back in and bravely watched a room of people watching her.
It could have been the fact that she was standing a mere 2ft to my left, the strangeness that her boyfriend had asked her to do this, the unavoidable feeling that you had sneaked into Annabelle and Andre's bedroom, or the power of the actual film, but it felt voyeuristic and intense.
And finally 3) A laugh in the final scene erases whatever you felt during the sex scene and you walk out with a smile.
It seems that Andre's talents have no end. He recently released a CD with Kitsune, sunglasses with Illesteva, and took on the position as creative director of L’Officiel Hommes. He has also teamed with Levis to create a jacket for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles' "Art in the Streets" exhibit. With Le Baron booming overseas and so many projects on his plate it seems like the hotly anticipated outpost of the club may never open in Chinatown. And although he has been coy about its progress, a tipster tells us that construction has begun on the space.
After the screening and cocktail portion, guests head up to Le Bain where everyone congregated on the roof despite the chilliness of the wind.
Andre Saraiva, Nadine Johnson
Also in attendance: Serge Becker, Cynthia Rowley, Anthony Haden-Guest, Peter Makebish, Hannah Bronfman, Genevieve Jones, Tara Subkoff, KAWS - AKA Brian Donnelly, André Balazs, Beth Swofford, threeASFOUR, Bettina Zilkha, and oddly Kevin Jonas.