In an arresting new short film, actor and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg portrays a photographer wandering the breathtaking coast of Portugal’s Praia da Adraga. Her character awakens day after day—camera in hand—inside a grand-but-forsaken mansion, then sets off on a Groundhog Day–esque quest for the ideal image.
“It’s funny because it’s all about this woman taking pictures of herself, but it didn’t feel ego-centric—it just felt like playing a character with a lot of freedom and curiosity,” says Gainsbourg, whose lengthy film credits include director Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Nymphomaniac, and Antichrist (for which she won a Cannes Film Festival best-actress award) as well as 21 Grams and The Snowman.
The surreal, black-and-white short, titled Exposure, was written and directed by fashion legend Fabien Baron, and serves as the cinematic campaign for Zara Home’s fall/winter 2020 collection.
“Fabien sent me a synopsis of this quite intriguing short story of an introspective woman—I thought it was a great project because of course it’s a commercial, but it’s done in an artistic way,” notes Gainsbourg, who explains that the project is meant to blur the line between reality and reflection, lens and subject.
Fittingly, she has recently rediscovered photography in her own life; some of her self-portraits can be seen scattered in the background of the film. “I’m having a lot of fun with it,” she says, before adding quickly, “but I’m not a professional!”
The film naturally features cameos from Zara Home’s latest collection, subtly adorning the gorgeously dilapidated home where Gainsbourg’s character resides.
“The details of the house were so beautiful, so original, it was just a wonderful place to discover,” she says. The decor—including linen and velvet bedding, warm wooden furniture, cashmere blankets, and vintage-inspired dinnerware—“was beautiful, sort of country-like, which is something that I really love.”
The new range encompasses furniture, bedding, kitchenware, and decor, priced from $5.90 to $399. Standouts include irregular stoneware place settings, embellished ceramic vases, teak mirrors, faded rugs, rustic stools, and clever nesting tables.
Gainsbourg (the daughter of English actress Jane Birkin and French singer Serge Gainsbourg) tells Architectural Digest that her own notion of home is ever-evolving. “During the last 30 years I’ve been with the same man [actor/director Yvan Attal], and in the beginning we would move every year. I needed to change the environment all the time,” she recalls. “And then it slowed down a bit and we finally bought a place in Paris and redecorated it the way we wanted, because suddenly it was our real home.”
Then in 2014, after the death or her sister, Gainsbourg, Attal, and their children relocated to New York. “It was wonderful to not be home,” she says. “It was, for me, a wonderful discovery of new surroundings—a new sky, very strong seasons, everything was very exhilarating.” The family stayed in New York for about six years before recently returning to France, where she’s currently at work on her next album, along with several film and TV projects.
“I feel that I really belong in Paris,” she reflects. “It’s my home, it will always be my home—it’s going back to old memories. Sometimes it can be a little heavy because [of] that.
“In the film, it was very much that,” Gainsbourg continues. “[The character] is in her own world that she’s made for herself, with this installation of mirrors everywhere. There’s of course introspection, but there’s a lot of solitude and isolation.”
A fitting—and perhaps comforting—mood for 2020.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest