EXCLUSIVE: Deadline can reveal the first trailer for the Sally Potter short Look at metackling the issue of male anger and co-starring Chris Rock and Javier Bardem, ahead of its out-of-competition premiere in Venice.
Rock and Bardem play a gala organizer and a drummer. Tension rises between the two men ahead of a gala performance by the latter, who violently vents his pent-up stress.
Filmed three years ago, the work took on new resonance after Rock received an infamous slap in the face from Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars ceremony in March. Rock confirmed on Monday that he turned down an offer from AMPAS to host the 2023 ceremony.
The 16-minute work, also featuring American tap dancer Savion Glover, was originally conceived as a short story to be incorporated into Potter’s 2020 feature film. Roads not taken, featuring Bardem as a writer in the early stages of dementia.
Produced by Christopher Sheppard at Adventure Pictures, it was filmed over five days in New York and London in 2019.
“When I walked into the editing room, I saw how dynamic these titans of the entertainment world are together, their volatile and fiery relationship on screen offset by the beats of brilliant tap dancer Savion Glover,” explains Potter.
“The fate of the story was clear: it had nothing to do with the other project. It had to become a short film, a moving portrait of conflict and love. The result is Look at me.”
The short film’s screening in Venice coincides with the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Potter’s second Oscar-nominated feature Orlando in competition at the festival in 1992.
UK’s Bankside Films has embarked on international sales of the short ahead of its Venice debut.
“The combination of Sally Potter, Chris Rock and Javier Bardem is truly arresting in this riveting short film that audiences are going to be thrilled to experience,” said Bankside co-founder and director Stephen Kelliher.
Elsewhere, Bleecker Street will release the film in the United States shortly after its Venice premiere, with screenings at New York’s Metrograph alongside Potter’s second feature in 1992. Orlando as well as a qualifying run at the Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles.
The film will also be available on the Bleecker Street app in early 2023, joining a collection of shorts from cinema partners including Joe Penna (Arctic), Riley Stearns (The art of self defense), Gavin Hood (eye in the sky), and Alex Huston-Fischer (Save yourself!).
“I’m grateful to Bleecker Street for taking the shorts seriously and I’m delighted that they bring Look at me to audiences in cinemas and online at a time when its themes seem so urgent,” Potter said.