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miu miu women's tales end of history illusion celia rowlson-hall inkstick media

Life Underground

Miu Miu's modern fallout shelter seems kind of nice. Until it's not.

Words: Laicie Heeley

Apocalyptic times breed apocalyptic art. When the results are successful, they can be enlightening, entertaining, and even a little cathartic. Cue this thoroughly modern take on today’s fallout shelter — for those of us who might be feeling like we wouldn’t mind a little escape from the day-to-day.

“Wouldn’t it be a dream come true in these trying times to own your own luxury underground home,” a fashionable Robin Leach-like sales-woman says at the outset of the film. “Well, you can wake up now, because this is reality.” Fashionable tenants have the option to dance, swim, and play mini-golf in the 15,000 square foot dream home which comes complete with 24-hour caretakers and even entertainers.

The voice-over asks, “Why perish above when you can live in luxury below?”

(The [End) of History Illusion] is written, directed, and choreographed by Celia Rowlson-Hall. It premiered at 2017 Venice Film Festival and is the 14th and most recent film in the Miu Miu Women’s Tales series.

But don’t go writing it off as a glorified ad for the Prada Group-owned fashion label. The series has featured works by Chloë Sevigny, Miranda July, and Ava DuVernay among others, and while the films are all loosely inspired by Miu Miu clothes and accessories, artists aren’t obligated to show the products on the screen. Miu Miu doesn’t even advertise the films — which explains why you might’ve missed this great piece until now.

Rowlson-Hall says, “I wanted to explore commercialism in the face of fear, creating a spectacle to distract and entertain, an escape from our present-day reality.”

And the illusion she creates seems kind of nice.

Until it’s not. A disturbing reminder that the answer isn’t always quite so easy as an escape.

Laicie Heeley

Editor in Chief

Laicie Heeley is the founding CEO of Inkstick Media, where she serves as Editor in Chief of the foreign policy magazine Inkstick and Executive Producer and Host of the PRX- and Inkstick-produced podcast, Things That Go Boom. Heeley’s reporting has appeared on public radio stations across America and the BBC, where she’s explored global security issues including domestic terrorism, disinformation, nuclear weapons, and climate change. Prior to launching Inkstick, Heeley was a Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program and Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Her publications include work on sanctions, diplomacy, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, along with the first full accounting of US counterterrorism spending after 9/11.


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