A modern interpretation of He & She, a short story consisting of letters between two lovers written by Anton Chekhov in the 19th century, Him & Her illustrates how the way we love hasn’t changed over the years. Directed by Daria Geller, Him & Her questions the nature of love – an anti-fairy tale offering a more realistic depiction of relationships. A tale of love and hate, the short film explores toxic dynamics which, though they don’t fit into society’s expectations of romance, can form an intrinsic part of love.
The film revolves around the concept of love and hate being inescapably connected. The playfulness, the teasing, the pushing and pulling become behaviours that the two main characters have adopted over the years – a visceral way of loving which they thoroughly enjoy and despise at the same time. In an unfortunate paradox, only with the ones that we truly love do we feel comfortable enough to show the worst of ourselves.
Him & Her explores how when we love most of our time is spent dealing with mundane tasks, waiting for those rare moments of love for which we are willing to go through anything. In the film this is shown when the female lead goes on stage to perform, as this is the moment her lover falls in love all over again. We never hear her sing as nothing in the world could ever be as beautiful as the way he hears her voice. Similarly, though she performs to an audience, she relishes in being adored by him. With every scene gradually turning redder and redder as we approach the moment of her being on stage, they are both fully aware that as soon as the performance is over, and they return to their rooms everything will go back to being grey.
There’s a true rawness to Him & Her. From the cast and cinematography to the sound and styling, there’s a constant battle between contrasting feelings, moods and qualities. Two people capable of being ugly and beautiful at the same time, that equally love and hate one another and can’t stand being in the same room, but would be left empty without each other.
The film is an ode to Russia’s sombre and melancholic aesthetic. Featuring garments by Russian labels Lesyanebo and Brier-wear, Him & Her is set across three distinct locations picked for their clear Soviet design: Hotel Che, Hotel Uzkoe and the Central House of Architecture. The Russian identity is equally felt through the lack of dialogue, something which would normally fill a relationship. Unable to openly talk during the Soviet Union, communicating without speaking and focusing on the unsaid has now become part of the Russian way of living.
Him & Her is the first narrative short film directed by Geller. Currently, it’s being screened at a range of international film festivals and has won Best Short Film and Best Actress at Cinalfama, Best Short and Best Cinematography at Indie Short Fest and has been nominated for Best Cinematography at ARFF Berlin International Awards.
Born and raised in Moscow, and based between Paris and Tel Aviv, at the age of sixteen Geller made her way into the world of cinema by attending Russia’s pre-eminent film school VGIK under the lead of renowned cinematographer Mikhail Agranovich. Her work can be defined as honest and raw, seeking to shed light on some of life’s most intimate moments.
Geller has worked as Director and Director of Photography across Europe, Russia and the Middle East, shooting numerous commercials, documentaries, fashion films, short films and music videos for names such as Adidas, Clean Bandit and Son Little. Her work has screened and been awarded internationally, winning Best Middle Eastern film at Berlin Fashion Film Festival 2017 and a nomination for Best Music Video at the BRITS Awards in 2016.
Director: Daria Geller (@daria.geller)
Script: Asia Fix, Daria Geller
Producers: Yuval Orr, Daria Geller
Executive Producer: Iftach Aloni
Line Producer: Yana Kurbatova
Him: Evgeniy Kharitonov
Her: Miriam Sekhon (@magoga)
Nadya: Anna Bochalova
Alexey: Evgeniy Shwartz (@evgeny_shwartz)
Sveta: Irina Nosova (@irinanosova)
Driver: Alexandr Tumbler
Cinematographer: Daria Geller
Edit: Daria Geller, Efim Graboy (@efim_graboy)
Costumes: Alexandra Kaminer (@sashakaminer)
Art Director: Alexandra Smirnova
Art Director Assistant: Ilya Smirnov
Props Master: Danila Shatrov
Production Manager: Alexey Kudrik (@alexey_kudrik)
Music: Roi Keidar
Closing Song: Anna Pinskaya with Leonhard Kuhn, Marina Rojkova. Lyrics by Marina Tsvetaeva
Makeup Artist: Alisa Bo
Makeup Assistant: Olya Boogie (@boogie_makeup)
1st Assistant Director: Yana Vasilik
2nd Assistant Director: Varvara Bialik
Gaffer: Dmitriy startakov
Light assistants: Roman Anshpugov, Igor Astakov
1ac /Cameraman: Michael Dementyev
1ac / Cameraman: Artem Burko (@temaburko)
1ac: Anna Patarakina (@patarakina)
Cameraman: Evegniy Kozlov
Cameraman: Yan Yasinskiy (yan.dop)
Camera Mechanic: Alexander Samoylov
Sound Recordist: Dmitriy Zakharov
Sound Recordist Assistant: Evgenii Grishin
Sound Director: Anton Levkin
Color Correction: Dmitry Litvinov (@litvinovdimaa)