‘Blue Lips’ is a short film made as an alternative to the current climate of visual albums. Malia James - artist, director and former musician - and Swedish musician Tove Lo (who acts in it) describe how they discussed Tove’s new album visuals and decided that instead of a purely visual album, where each song is a new video chapter, they wanted to weave the songs into a real narrative. James and Lo talked about favourite films (Victoria and Morvern Callar) and shared intimate stories of ‘first nights staying awake talking to someone you’ve just fallen for’, ‘complications with friends and love’ and all the failings that can come with it. Out of that the seed of a short film was planted.
‘The film’s primary function was to showcase most or all of the album visually, so each scene was shaped around how we’d incorporate the track’ James. A narrative arc was built from the sharing of personal memories and then a tonal layer set on top where James incorporates her values in the female gaze. ‘The new wave of the female gaze isn’t hiding our bodies, but normalising them. I wanted to bring sexiness to a girl eating a burger or adjusting her swimsuit that’s ridden up.’ ‘I wanted us to show female friendships and love relationships in a positive and more nuanced way- moving away from classic high drama tropes.’
Lo, ‘This is the last chapter of the Lady Wood Era, and it couldn’t have been completed in a better way than making this film with Malia. All our late nights at her house where we watched movie after movie about love, friendships and all the drama that comes with it, sharing our own stories and feeling our very first film take shape.’
James, ‘I’ve never experienced that level of sharing with anyone I’ve worked with before and that will be something I always cherish from this experience.’