Buñuel’s 1967 film, Belle De Jour, explored the idea of a middle class woman exchanging the mundane existence of a housewife for that of a call girl, spending her days being ravished by strange men for money. Belle’s audacious rejection of the status quo in favour of pleasure and money makes us, in some ways, acutely uncomfortable, perhaps because it forces us to wonder why we have so blindly devoted ourselves to lives of dreary servitude without ever questioning why. Or if there might not be a more pleasurable alternative.
Why do we go to university, when it will only saddle us with debt and no longer ensures that there will be a job-for-life awaiting us on graduation? Why do we aspire to marriage and kids, when the planet is grossly overpopulated and most of us are atheists anyway? Perhaps because the alternative is so abstract and unstructured that it frightens us. There is comfort in compliance to the prevailing norms of society, whereas dissension is dangerous and untested.
Inspired by this strange, shared feeling of discomfort, photographer Scarlett Casciello and stylist Lucy Upton Prowse put together a shoot in the suburbs of Paris, on an incredible brutalist estate called, appropriately, ‘Paris de Noisy’.