Joaquin Phoenix and Sasha Frolova in “Lou”

LA-based photographer and filmmaker Clara Balzary has made a reputation for exploring the majesty hidden in everyday banality. Her work, wrapped in a softly romantic hue, finds dynamic form in this atmospheric new film—an exploration of identity within the liminal space between girlhood and what lies beyond it. Featuring Sasha Frolova, Odessa Young, and Joaquin Phoenix, it’s a murky piece of chiaroscuro topped off with searing stabs of neon.

“Lou is at a loss for any clear example for how to be,” explains the image-maker who has previously worked with the likes of Dazed, Adidas, and i-D. “She absorbs caricatured versions of masculine and feminine, and only until she ventures out of her house toward the darkness does she begin the mine the complexities of self definition.

“Lou’s experience aims to mirror the vastness and thrill of the teenage experience, and the particular weight of constructing an authentic idea of ‘self’ within the female gaze.”

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