Alma H'Arel Jelly wolf

Director Alma Har’el, who launched the #FreeTheBid movement to get more women directors included on bids, has unveiled a vivid new short film exploring the emotion of scent.
“JellyWolf” is an eight-minute film for the Fifth Sense, a digital platform from i-D and Chanel that explores the emotion of scent and the way it inspires female creativity. The film stars actresses Kiersey Clemons (known for her role in Dope, produced by Pharrell Williams, as well as her recurring role as Bianca in Transparent) and Lisa Bonet (Cosby Show, Angel Heart, High Fidelity) in a magical, fantastic and surreal version of downtown LA brought to life with vibrant special effects. The young Clemons sets out on a journey to discover her mythical spirit animal “JellyWolf” with the help of Bonet’s modern shamanic beauty parlor owner.
Carrying a box of mementos each inspired by key ingredients of Chanel’s N°5 L'eau, including lemon, wood and rose, Clemons’ character embarks on a visually spectacular journey inspired by the memories each scent conjures. With each new vision she unlocks, she deepens her understanding of the woman she is, as well as her connection to her passing grandmother and other women in her life.
In an interview on the Fifth Sense website, Har’el said that the experience Clemons’ character is buying in the store is inspired by synesthesia – a condition where one sense is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses. It allows some people, for example, to experience sounds and scents as images.
“It’s the idea that certain scents can evoke images, and that our senses cross paths,” said Har’el. “My friend Dexter didn’t know she had it but told me one night over dinner that she always experienced the words ‘white house’ as a cake she can taste and seen days of the week as a circle suspended in the air. When I told her about the condition suddenly everything made sense to her; it’s a really dope condition, your senses take creative license with reality.”
The visually sensual story powerfully intertwines scent and memory, with Bonet’s shopkeep (in a “Women Smell Better” t-shirt), serving as a guide, telling the girl that “the path to remembering who you are goes through your nose.”
Musician Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes) collaborated with Emile Haynie for the first time on JellyWolf’s opening track. The film’s main music is 'Ha Howa Ha Howa' by Sexwitch (a Natasha Khan and Toy collaboration).
Director Har’el has been lauded for her genre re-defining work that melds documentary and fiction. She picked up the top prize at Tribeca Film Festival for 2011’s Bombay Beach, as well as premiered her critically acclaimed latest feature LoveTrue, in 2016 to rapt audiences with longtime collaborator Shia LaBeouf as executive producer.


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    The Fifth Sense