What do you get when you combine the following:
- Beautiful cinematography
- Beautiful Black women
- Beautiful clothing
- Beautiful music
- A beautiful storyline?
Ava DuVernay was the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her film Middle of Nowhere. She collaborated with Miu Miu to create a short film as part of the fashion brand's "Women's Tales" series, featuring an awesome showing of Miu Miu clothing - and it is gorgeous. Starring Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Adepero Oduye, Emayatzy Corinealdi, and Goapele, this 9-minute short uses everything except words to tell a poignant story of sisterhood and self-discovery. This was a lovely yet unexpected visual that gave me something I didn't know I needed.
Here's the description from Miu Miu:
The Door, by Ava DuVernay, the fifth Miu Miu Women’s Tale, is a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds, and a symbolic story of life change. The symbolic centre of The Door is the front entrance of the protagonist’s home. As she opens it to greet a friend in the powerfully framed opening scenes, she is shrouded in an oblique sadness.
“In the film, characters arrive at the door of a friend in need, bringing something of themselves,” explains director DuVernay. “Eventually, we witness our heroine ready to walk through the door on her own. The door in the film represents a pathway to who we are.”
Clothing is also a symbol of renewal, each change of costume charting our heroine’s emergence from a chrysalis of sadness. In the final scenes, she takes off her ring, pulls on long, black leather gloves, and walks, transformed by the emotive power of the clothing, through the door.
Watch The Door here:
I may be in a particularly sensitive frame of mind right now, but The Door touched me. It made me think about the themes of friendship and sisterhood, love and loss, and who I would lean on in my time of need.
I have a select few close girlfriends who make my heart sing with their love, sincerity, and support. Friends who make me so proud that I celebrate their successes as fervently as if they were my own. Friends who are down for whatever, whenever, however - and I love them. On the flip side, I've also experienced the dreaded girlfriend break-up, which has always felt worse than almost any boyfriend break-up in my life.
I once had a sister-friend who would have been the Adepero/Emayatzy/Goapele to my Gabrielle, if it ever came down to it. And if she was Gabrielle, I undoubtedly would have played any one of the supportive sisters to her. I would have bet my last dollar on those facts - but had I ever made such a deal, I would be broke-pocketed and assed-out right now. One day I may write and vent it out, but today I choose to leave the past in peace. I find myself stepping over the charred remains of that friendship with lessons learned, guards up, and a heart temporarily hardened - but I've closed that door, and I'm better for it.
Alfre Woodard looks like an older version of my mother, so I always have a soft spot for her and the maternal vibe that radiates everytime I see her. Her presence in The Door was no different, but this time her representation brought to mind someone other than my mother.
We were an unlikely pair. Me - 6ft tall, Black, early twenties, Jamaican-Canadian; her - almost 5ft, White, early sixties, with a shock of red hair and a soft English accent. We worked together in a cosmetics department for a few years, but shared a special Odd Couple-teacher/student kind of friendship. Determining who played what role depended on the lesson at hand, but I definitely think I learned more. The news of her death this weekend shook me harder than I thought it would - sadness mixed with my own phobia of death, then blended with a sense of urgency for more in this fleeting life. The cherry on top of this tragic smoothie? The guilt I felt at continuously putting off sending her an email or making a quick call to see how she was. I'll email her tomorrow. I'll give her a call next week. I always thought about her and smiled fondly when I remembered the good old days. I always meant to connect, but never got around to it - and that guilt is a tough pill to swallow. Like the example before, that door is now closed, but I take the lessons and memories and know I am better for them.
Watching The Door when I did, in the particular frame of mind that I did, left me with an all-encompassing feeling of melancholy. It's a beautiful kind of sorrow though - the kind that makes my breath get caught in my throat, but reminds me that life goes on once I start to breathe smoothly again. Hurt and loss are what they are, but love and sincere friendship can always be found. As in The Door, I remain blessed to be surrounded by women who know my heart and who let me know theirs. I am blessed to have friendships both past and present that bring out my best self. I'm blessed to have the gift of feminine bonds that progress with me through life's changes, and who'll walk with me through any door. Thanks to my friends, my sisters, from then and now - I am blessed.
Not sure if Ava DuVernay and Miu Miu would have expected this kind of response to The Door, but there it is! What did you think of The Door? For my ladies, how do you feel about the sisterhoods you have (or have had) in your life?