10 EYE FILMS #4 - FOR YOUR EYES ONLY - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Sun, sand and surfing make one immediately think of California, our key inspiration for the KENZO Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Guillaume Le Goff presents the second part of his list of top ten surf films from the past 50 years. 

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"Lords of Dogtown" (2005)

“They came from nothing to change everything…”: that's a fact, there was a ‘before’ and ‘after’ the Z Boyz. "DogTown & Z-Boyz" (2001), was initially a documentary film about the birth of skateboarding in a beach and surf culture era, more precisely around Venice Beach (aka "Dogtown") and Santa Monica. The documentary was directed by Stacy Peralta, narrated by Sean Penn, and with original contributions by Zephyr Skate's co-founder Craig Stecyk and legendary photographer Glen E. Friedman. Brilliantly executed and a huge success worldwide, it spoke about the emergence of skateboarding in ‘70s Dogtown and the dominating role of "local surf and skate heros" such as Jay Adams, Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta from the Zephyr skateboard Team (or Z Boys). Along with board designer and manager Skip Engblom, these vanguards really shaped the surf/skate transition and contributed to spread the word of skateboarding by riding the streets, schoolyards and of course, all those empty Californian pool bowls – the promised land.
The film "Lords of Dogtown" (2005), directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Stacy Peralta, is based on the original story. With a side dish of Hollywood drama, a neat screenplay and to the mellow sounds of Neil Young, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, it brought the Californian skate genesis to the eyes and minds of millions of people around the world.


"Chasing Mavericks" (2012)


Also based on a true story, "Chasing Mavericks" was the latest big surf blockbuster to come out of Hollywood. 8 year-old Jay (James) Moriarty is rescued from drowning by big wave surfer Frosty Hesson, who some years later takes on the role as James's mentor, and coaches James to his extreme limits in order to achieve his lifetime dream: surf Mavericks, a legendary spot that nobody thinks is even real. Mavericks is one of the biggest waves on the planet, created once a decade by the Northern Californian winter swells at half Moon Bay, near Santa Cruz, California. After months of intense and emotional preparation, one day the wave arrives. Before a large crowd gathered on the beach and on boats, James, after a memorable wipeout at first attempt (caught on camera and making the cover of Surfer magazine), gets back on his board and finally conquers Mavericks at only just 16. His legend lives now forever.


"Endless Summer" (1966)


A cornerstone of the surf film genre, "Endless Summer" introduced the real surfing experience to a broader audience, and inspired the birth of the phenomenal ‘surf lifestyle’:  going to ride around the world just for the pleasure of being on a beach, in the sun and living it up with friends.
For the first time on screen, filmmaker/narrator Bruce Brown, a passionate Californian surfer himself, follows two young local surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, willing to experience an endless summer in search of the perfect wave. To accomplish their dream, they travel to new surf spots (most of them never seen and ridden before) including Ghana, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand or the famous Cape St. Francis break in Cape Town. Along the way, they enlist famous surf figures like Rodney Sumpter and Nat Young, as well as local heroes who become friends for life. Upon its release, Time magazine described it as “a dazzling ode to sun, sand and surf”, while The New Yorker offered it as a “brilliant, perfect movie”. With a beautiful original soundtrack by The Sandals, it's often considered the best surfing film of all time; a key to understanding the culture of surf and most importantly, about feeling good.


"One California Day" (2007)


Rebuking the trend for surf documentaries that were dealing with increasingly trendy new destinations, "One California Day" is a collection of stories, experiences and surf spots woven together into an enjoyable film by directors Mark Jeremias and Jason Baffa, both Cali born and raised. Superbly shot in 16 mm color film, it captures beautiful locations from Crescent City in the North to Imperial Beach in the South near San Diego. For Jeremias and Baff, there’s no need to go far to experience the fun and freedom offered by short or long board riding: California's beaches and coastal spots, with its charming people, traditions and original history, has everything to offer for those looking for a good day of surfing. Shooting with top surfers Joe Curren, Lance Carlson, Alex Knost and Joel Tudor, they even caught a Big Wednesday historical swell of the decade up North; thus making One California Day an epically perfect one.


"Little Victories"(2013)


"Little Victories" is a simple and joyful 30 minute surf film directed by Perry Gershkow (a filmmaker from Marin County, CA) that conducts us along the California north coast in search of new terrains to explore. Here, every single wave conquered is a "little victory" for the protagonists: a bunch of good friends who live for surfing with smooth style and great tricks, including some local rippers like Tyler Payne, Colin Dwyer, Bryce Adams and Jordan Stern. Watch this humble piece, appreciate its beautiful vibe and great rock soundtrack and there are high chances that you will think about booking a ticket to Santa Cruz or San Francisco to finally witness this cool madness for yourself.


Other films & documentaries to watch :

"Thicker Than Water" (2000)

"Momentum" (2001)

"Step into Liquid" (2003)

"A Broke Down Melody" (2004)

"These are Better days" (2004)

"The Seedling", "Sprout", "The Present" (2007-2009)

"Stoked & Broke" (2010)

"The Ductumentary" (2013)

"Secret Sound" (2013)


California's long coastline means that surfing has been a quintessential part of the culture since the 1960s. In additon to California being Carol and Humberto's home state, the almost-mythical power of 'big waves' inspired one of our key prints of the KENZO Spring/Summer 2014 collection. For those of you who have not yet had the chance to experience the California surf lifestyle for yourselves, let Guillaume Le Goff transport you there with his selection of ten great surf movies. 

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"Big Wednesday" (1978)


"Big Wednesday - the story of every generation growing up…" went the tagline when the film first came out; one of the first major surf movies and the work of director John Millus – a native of California. The film spans a decade in the life of three young, talented Californian friends and surfers: Matt Johnson, Jack Barlowe and Leroy Smith. To each his own personality and experience but what they have in common is a destiny: to one day ride the world’s biggest wave. From ‘62 to ‘74, through early youth, the Vietnam war and subsequent loss of innocence followed by transition into adulthood, ‘Big Wednesday’ invites the audience to classic Californian beach spots in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Malibu, and Hawaii (Pupukea). In the end, Matt, Jack and Leroy reunite for the ‘74 Great Swell. They’re going to face the biggest challenge of their lives, and risk it all on this unique and long-awaited "Big Wednesday". With incredible surf images and a strong plot, BW was predicted to achieve the success of Star Wars or Jaws by Spielberg himself but failed to gain the recognition it deserved. At last, it is now a cult surf movie.





"Point Break" (1991)


“100% Adrenaline” was how Point Break was presented upon its release. Faithful to the word, the movie won over audiences and critics alike with its memorable surf (and sky-diving) sequences, legendary casting and a fast plot. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Point Break was the film that launched then-rookie actor Keanu Reeves to stardom (he was subsequently awarded "Most Desirable Male" at the 1992 MTV Movie Awards). First titled "Johnny Utah" (after Reeves’ character’s name in the movie) then "Riders on the Storm" (after The Doors song), "Point Break" was finally chosen by the producers as a clear reference to the surf world. Indeed, Point Break tells the story of two cops hunting down a bunch of Californian surfers who rob banks, the "Ex-Presidents": more in search of adrenaline than money. The closing scene of the "50-Year Storm" (in Victoria, Australia) presented some of the biggest waves ever seen on screen… And, thank God, Keanu is still a surfer today.


"In God's hands" (1998)


After Point Break's success, Hollywood wanted to offer an even bigger surf movie to the public. Along came "In God's hands", produced by actor Charlie Sheen and singer/actor Bret Michaels, and directed by Zalman King (9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid). IGH tells the story of a group of big wave riders looking for the ultimate ride of their life. Hopping between the most dangerous and exotic spots around the world (Bali, Madagascar, Hawai, Mexico), three young pro surfers Shane (Patrick Shane Dorian - who spent 11 years touring the Surf World Championship Tour as a real pro surfer from Hawaii), Mickey (co-script writer Matt Georges) and Keoni (Matty Liu) are living fast but never lose sight of their ambitions: surfing the biggest waves on earth, that is until the dramatic (but happy) ending. On-the-water footage was shot by notorious director of water photography Sonny Miller (Die Another Day), whose exceptional angles add a nice twist to “In God’s Hands”.


"Once Upon a Wave" (1963)


Shot in color by Walt Phillips (Sunset Surf Craze…) between 1959 and 1962, "Once Upon a Wave" takes you on a 48 minute tour along the California coast, introducing some of the region’s best waves and most stylish riders.  Enjoy Dewey Weber, Miki Dora or Lance Carson perfecting a line on Surf Rider Beach; big wave riders Fred Van Dyke, Peter Cole and Ricky Grigg on Sunset Beach (Huntington) and legends like Mike Doyle and Robert August, who in their quest for the ultimate ride, show us how to control a board in such locations as Steamer Lane (Santa Cruz) or Haleiwa (Oahu North Shore, Hawaii). Considered a vintage surf safari, "Once Upon a Wave" is a testimony of a purer time – gone, but never forgotten.


"Riding Giants" (2004)


Written and directed by Stacy Peralta (Lords of Dogtown) and the first documentary to ever open the Sundance film festival, "Riding Giants" is an impressive piece about legendary pioneers surfers who dedicated their lives to Big Wave riding: among them Greg Noll, Gerry Lopez, Jeff Clark, Mickey Munoz, or more recently Laird Hamilton.  "Before mankind ever walked on the moon, a few young men stepped off the ledge of the earth and carved out a new way of life…” This is how the opening line of "Riding Giants" sets the scene, before charting how those incredible characters - real “water astronauts of their era" - living on nothing but their raw passion came to defy the forces of the ocean to invent a whole new lifestyle. Starting from Waimea Bay, Hawaii (where it all began) in the ‘50s and ‘60s, to Mavericks in Northern California in the ‘70s and ‘80s, they set up the big wave blueprint for generations to come.  As Greg Noll recounts in the film, they didn't care about dying; they just lived to surf the biggest wave. With a deep spirit and vision, a lot of archive footage, interviews and amazing surf scenes, "Riding Giants" remains today an essential reference.




KENZO’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection is about California as a nexus of experiences, radiating from Carol Lim & Humberto Leon’s teenage years. For this latest film, KENZO collaborated with director Kahlil Joseph. A resident of Los Angeles, he is known for a string of stellar short films and music videos, including Flying Lotus’s ‘Until the Quiet Comes’ and Shabazz Palaces’ ‘Black Up’.

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Through his lens, the world appears as fragmentary and paradoxical - as a series of beautiful visual riffs. Joseph’s unique vision is the perfect complement to KENZO’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection, which encapsulates California in all its many guises: sensual yet tough, relaxed yet intense, sophisticated yet free-spirited.



In this profound and uplifting short film, Kahlil Joseph conjures up an otherworldly Los Angeles, one awash in myths and visions: a man ordering fish in a Jamaican restaurant, the regal beauty of a woman overlooking the sea, a beautiful boy paying homage to a beached dolphin. Shot on 16mm film, the amalgamation of images--at once utterly real and splendidly fantastical--is deployed through a loose narrative driven by pure emotion.


Written and directed by Kahlil Joseph.


Grace Mahary
Palaceer Lazaro
Tykee Dawkins
Chris "Worm" Lewis


Music by Shabazz Palaces
Cinematography by Jason McCormick
Art direction by Partel Oliva
Styled by Mobolaji Dawodu & Annabelle Baldero Lacuna
Produced by Onye Anyanwu & Alejandro De Leon
Produced by Pulse Films and What Matters Most

To kick off the film focus of this season’s Californian inspirations, we asked young director Gia Coppola to share her top films from the Golden State with us. Now Gia, 27, makes her own Californian feature directorial debut with 'Palo Alto'.

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Meet Gia…


Born January 1, 1987, Gia grew up in Los Angeles. She attended Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, California, before entering Bard College, a prestigious liberal arts institution which is noted for its excellent photography department - Gia’s intended course of study. Her artistic tendency was to use the camera with personal style, casually documenting life within her field of vision. She made a departure into film noir for projects, mimicking stills from noir films using an old light bulb flash during nighttime shoots.

After graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, Gia began making advertising videos with her friends to challenge herself in another arena: "When fashion companies started hiring us to make short online videos using their clothes, I’d think up stories I could tell without too many locations, using my friends as the actors. I was excited by film because it added something to what I was already doing. I liked writing, developing characters, telling a story, and using different, more complex cameras." 

As the first grandchild of Francis and Eleanor Coppola, Gia never knew her father, Gian-Carlo Coppola, who lost his life in a tragic accident before she was born. She and her mother, the former Jacqui de la Fontaine, lived in Napa Valley during her early years, before eventually returning to L.A. Gia is now based in New York City.



'Palo Alto' is Gia’s first feature film, an impressionistic study of teen angst and parental malaise in an urban community. The screenplay emerged from a collection of short stories by James Franco, whose company, Rabbit Bandini, also financed and produced the film.



Emma Roberts (“American Horror Story,” We’re the Millers)
Jack Kilmer (in his acting debut)
James Franco (Spring Breakers)
Nat Wolff (Admission, The Fault in Our Stars)
Zoe Levin (The Way, Way Back)
Chris Messina (“The Mindy Project”)
Val Kilmer


Shy, sensitive April (Emma Roberts) is the class virgin —a popular soccer player and frequent babysitter for her single-dad coach, Mr. B. (James Franco). Teddy (Jack Kilmer) is an introspective artist whose best friend and sidekick Fred (Nat Wolff) is an unpredictable live wire with few filters or boundaries. While April negotiates a dangerous affair with Mr. B., and Teddy performs community service for a DUI — secretly carrying a torch for April, who may or may not share his affection — Fred seduces Emily (Zoe Levin), a promiscuous loner who seeks validation through sexual encounters. One high school party bleeds into another as April and Teddy finally acknowledge their mutual affection, and Fred's escalating recklessness spirals into chaos.


PALO ALTO premiers in select theaters in the United States on May 9th, and in France on June 11th 2014.

KENZINE first met Gia Coppola at the launch party of the Kalifornia bag in L.A back in November. A native of Los Angeles, we thought the young director would be the person to talk movies with. Here are Gia’s favourite Californian films.

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The Long Good-bye: the best example of a movie that knows not to take itself too seriously. A Raymond Chandler novel as slapstick comedy.


Los Angeles Plays Itself: The truest portrait of my hometown


The Conversation: I love the score and sound editing. I like movies that take place in San Francisco.


American Graffiti: I like movies about teenagers just driving around.


Sunset Boulevard: A movie told from the perspective of a dead guy. What Hollywood can do to a person.


Double Indemnity: Barbara Stanyick is one of my favorites. Good old classic.


Heat: Best heist movie & best shoot out scene. Val Kilmer.


Zodiac: A movie about a serial killer that's really a story about obsession.


Chinatown: Makes the history of Los Angeles into a Greek myth. The birth of LA. The story of LA can be whittled down to the search for water.


"For some reason, they're mostly crime movies!" 

This season, KENZO heads up to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book “The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas” (Universe / Rizzoli International)” - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our first category - “Drive-Ins” – was inspired by Hala Matar’ film “Automobile Waltz”. Start your engines and fasten your seatbelt. No movie watching setting is as fun as the Annual Brand X Santa Monica Drive-In at the Pier!

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Every Friday in June, free screenings take place on the Pier Parking Deck of Santa Monica Pier. Mostly ocean themed and geared for an audience of all ages, the screenings are more about spending time with friends and family than the film itself. Screenings start at 8:30 p.m. but if you show up early, don’t worry; booths, giveaways, and fun start at 7:30 p.m. Bring your own beach chairs and blankets. Chairs available for rent. No alcohol permitted.


From the book “The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas”, by Joy Yoon (Universe / Rizzoli International).


See our map on Pinterest.

India is one of the main sources of inspiration for KENZO’s 2013 Fall-Winter collection. Carol and Humberto have drawn on Indian dance and cinema to offer an innovative reinterpretation of Bollywood culture, combined with more contemporary and punk codes. Here is a compilation of our ten favorite Bollywood films to get you started! 


Aan (The Savage Princess) by Mehboob Khan, 1950
The first Bollywood film in Technicolor, this colossal production was a milestone, produced with ambitions equal to the greatest American epic films. It is a love story between a peasant and a princess, against a backdrop of the class struggle in the realm of the maharajahs. With first-rate casting and sumptuous sets, Aan is no less magnificent than Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra.


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Mother India by Mehboob Khan, 1957

This is the Hindi answer to Gone with the Wind. A young peasant woman, devoted to her family, leads a life of exhausting toil and respect for traditions. Exploited, she is torn between acceptance and rebellion, and as such she symbolizes the whole country. Inspired by the masters, including John Ford and Eisenstein, this film also bears the mark of a director who is capable of presenting the plight of a nation in a single individual.



Mughal – E – Azam by K. Asif, 1960

This film influenced a whole slate of movies, up to the famous Devdas (2002). This complete work tells the story of star-crossed lovers, a prince who is heir to the Mogul throne and a commoner serving at court. With the remarkable performance of the actors and the director’s ability to offer an intelligent depiction of the essential themes of Indian cinema, everything conspires to make Mughal – E – Azam a film that fully lives up to its means.



King, Queen and Slave (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam) by Abrar Alvi, 1962                                                                                                                                                          
The dialog writer of the mythic actor and director Guru Dutt, who produced the film, made this film in the spirit of his mentor. As an aging architect wanders about the ruins of a palace, memories come back to him about a young man from the countryside who finds himself trapped between two women, in one of the most influential films in the history of Indian cinema.


Pakeezah (Pure Heart) by Kamal Amrohi, 1971
A prostitute dies giving birth to her daughter. The child is placed in the care of her aunt and grows up in a brothel where she learns to sing and dance. Seduced by a man of good family, she refuses to marry him, so as not to damage the reputation of the man she loves. It turns out that he is her cousin. The filming was mythic, and took place over a period of fifteen years. The leading lady became seriously ill and died shortly after the film was released.



Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The Big-Hearted Will Win the Bride) by Aditya Chopra, 1995
This is the Bollywood film revival, anticipated especially by one segment of its audience: young expatriates of the Indian diaspora. Taking up the basic codes of the genre, the film offers a fundamental shift because it tells the love story of two Indians living in Great Britain. Aditya Chopra signs a moving plea for closer understanding between immigrant communities and their families who stayed in India. The message is heard: this film is one of the biggest hits in history, with a record run in cinemas (over 600 weeks). The film also established the reputation of Shahrukh Khan as the undisputed icon of the genre, who went on to star in a continuous series of his greatest hits.



Devdas by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, 2002

This new adaptation of the most powerful Indian myth of the 20th century, a love story made impossible by the caste system, was presented at the Festival de Cannes in 2002 and it is the point of departure for a new phase of international popularity for Bollywood film. Supported by regal casting (Aishwarya Rai and Shahrukh Khan) and a colossal budget, this new version puts the emphasis on the symbolic and universal dimension of the legend.



Veer-Zaara by Yash Chopra, 2004
The father of Aditya Chopra directs Shahrukh Khan in one of his greatest critical and commercial successes. The elder Chopra, who died last year, had a career of impressive longevity and consistency. Here, the director’s lyrical and grandiose vein turns to a story written by his son: the impossible romance between an Indian soldier and a Pakistani woman. One of the greatest Indian hits on the international scene, with, in particular, screenings that drew notice at the Berlin and Marrakech film festivals.


Swades, We the People by Ashutosh Gowariker, 2004
The ubiquitous Shahrukh Khan is at the center of this story about an expatriate engineer in the United States who returns to India to reconnect with his roots. Conforming to the canons of the genre (duration, singing, etc…), the film is surprising because of its social tone and its realism. A chronicle of the political and sociocultural limits of the Indian people, Swades illustrates the mantra of its author: “Films must entertain but they should also leave the viewer with something deeper.”



Ra.One (Voltage) by Anubhav Sinha, 2011
Indomitable, Shahrukh Khan is back for the biggest budget film in the history of Bollywood, the story of two virtual beings who find themselves in our world, where they face off with no pity. Wildly fantastic, this film is a good example of the enormity of the divide that separates Indian culture from Western standards. One of the songs from the original sound track, Chammak Challo, composed by American R’n’B singer, Akon, was one of the top hits of the year.


Sight is the sense prized most of all by movie-makers, and the inclusion of the word “eye” in a film title is not without significance, often alluding to subtleness, double-crossing or recursion. It is as if the producers wanted us to watch the movie twice, rather than letting us sit back and indulge in a lengthy tale. In an era when we are all under the surveillance of the electronic eyes of cameras phones, the question of eyes and what they see has never been more relevant.

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Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, US, 1999) was Kubrick’s final film. It's a tale of sex, desire and fantasy in the life of a glamorous young couple. The eyes are the vehicle through which this alchemy of elements comes together in a confusion of real and imaginary: images versus experience, cinema superimposed on reality.

Sight is the sense prized most of all by movie-makers, and the inclusion of the word “eye” in a film title is not without significance, often alluding to subtleness, double-crossing or recursion. It is as if the producers wanted us to watch the movie twice, rather than letting us sit back and indulge in a lengthy tale. In an era when we are all under the surveillance of the electronic eyes of cameras phones, the question of eyes and what they see has never been more relevant.


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Eyes Without a Face (France, Georges Franju, 1959) tells the story of a surgeon who attempts to graft a face onto his daughter who has been left disfigured by an accident. One of the first French fantasy films in which the eyes represent the living part of the face.

Sight is the sense prized most of all by movie-makers, and the inclusion of the word “eye” in a film title is not without significance, often alluding to subtleness, double-crossing or recursion. It is as if the producers wanted us to watch the movie twice, rather than letting us sit back and indulge in a lengthy tale. In an era when we are all under the surveillance of the electronic eyes of cameras phones, the question of eyes and what they see has never been more relevant.

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For Your Eyes Only (John Glen, UK, 1981) is an old school Bond complete with creaky special effects. Roger Moore as 007 drives a Lotus (and a yellow 2CV!), dons a pair of skis and dives into the sights of Carole Bouquet, the owner of the beguiling Bond Girl eyes of the title.