As we inch closer into film festival season, there are a ton of promising new feature films that will surely warrant a lot of interest and attention. But one of the most notable films to premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival doesn’t pass the 20-minute mark. Look at Me, the latest film from Sally Potter, is a 16-minute short film starring Chris Rock and Javier Bardem, while also featuring the accompaniment of actor/dancer Savion Glover. Previously part of Potter‘s most recent film, The Roads Not Taken, which is centered around a writer in the early stages of dementia, the Orlando director opted to make this sequence its own thing, and audiences can get a glimpse at the festival short below.
Centered around a series of fundraising gala rehearsals wherein a gala director (Rock, with bleached blonde hair) and a temperamental rock drummer (Bardem) engage in intense, increasingly-escalating showdowns, Potter noted in the festival’s promotional material that, while these scenes were shot for her recent feature, the director felt that this story had more resonance as a standalone story. While it might’ve been shot and conceived for this other project, she felt that it needed to be told separately:
Whilst shooting the scenes between Javier and Chris, it immediately became clear that this material was destined to be a standalone story: a film in its own right. When I got into the cutting room, I saw how dynamic these titans of the entertainment world are together, their volatile, fiery on-screen relationship offset by the rhythms of the brilliant tap-dancer Savion Glover. The destiny of the story was clear: it had nothing to do with the other project. It had to become a short film, a fast-moving portrait of conflict and love. The result is ‘Look at Me.’
Certainly, Potter was quite fond of what Rock brought to the fold. In an Instagram post, she noted that his performance “moved [her] to tears,” notably as she was able to see a new side of the comedian, allowing him to be seen as “thoughtful, quiet, open and respectful.” In recent years, we’ve been seeing Rock push himself as a dramatic actor, notably with his starring role in FX‘s Fargo Season 4, along with his leading role in Spiral: From the Book of Saw. He’ll also soon be seen in David O. Russell’s Amsterdam, along with George C. Wolfe‘s upcoming biopic, Rustin, based on the life of Bayard Rustin. It sounds like this short film will be yet another showcase of Rock’s growing dramatic potential, and it’ll be intriguing to see the SNL veteran combating alongside the Oscar-winning acting heavyweight.
Look at Me will premiere out-of-competition at the Venice Film Festival next month. Check out the teaser trailer below: