Watch “Looking for the Self”, a Meditative Fashion Film About the Hunt for Identity

French filmmaker Thibault Della Gaspera portrays the search for who you are with help from actress Agathe Rouselle and her honest poetry.

As humans oscillating in a world defined by rapid technological process and informational overflow, pretty much all of us can relate to the struggle of trying to carve our own identities in a chaotic global atmosphere. Whether it’s simply ‘growing pains’ or an ever-present element of the human condition, discovering who you are can often seem like a tug-of-war between contrasting influences and expectations. That’s precisely what French filmmaker Thibault Della Gaspera taps into in his short film, “Looking for the Self.”

Coming armed with a robust background in fashion – he’s worked with the likes of Vogue, Christian Louboutin and Vivienne Westwood among many others – “Looking for the Self” marks Thibault’s first outing as an independent cinematographer. But as a result of his background, the film stands out for its combination of gritty fashion aesthetics with intimate and meditative storytelling. It centres around an androgynous main character losing herself on the streets and rooftops of Paris until she spots a mysterious woman; she decides to follow her—but try as our heroine might to track her down, she’s always short of catching her. Gaspera describes it as a “kind of a love story between a guy and a girl or two women, depending on how you see the character”—but ultimately, the game of cat and mouse so elegantly depicted is a metaphor for the search of the self, and especially the search for your own sexual identity.

The film is also elevated by soulfully-spoken poetry that floats above the billowing electronic soundtrack. In fact, the poetry is written by the film’s star, actress Agathe Rouselle. Here’s what she has to say about the state of mind that led to her writing:

“I was at a very weird point in my life when we shot. I had just shaved my head, I was reassessing everything, and wasn’t really sure about who I was anymore. So, when we decided to write something to go with the movie, let’s just say that poetry had already been cooking for a while. I still feel very thankful for Thibault putting his trust in the lost person I was at the time, and for allowing me to let it all out. I’m very proud of what we did together.”

Watch the film above and keep your eye out for more from this promising French filmmaker.