By Alice Butterlin

Miu Miu is back with the seventeenth installment of the Women’s Tales series, an initiative that invites today’s most exciting women directors to create a short movie tackling vanity and femininity in the 21st century. It’s Hailey Gates’ turn to showcase her short film called Shako Mako. The movie starts in what look to be a Middle Eastern setting with a mysterious girl walking in the streets. An American military vehicle suddenly brushes by and an explosion irrupts, hurting and killing civilians. It’s a typical war scene, complete with blood and a feeling of sheer panic. But then the spectator realizes that the movie he is watching is not what it seems. That mysterious girl is actually one of the actors of a replica village of Iraq, situated in California, used to train American troops before they go to war. All this was a set. With dreams of being a real actress, not just a pawn in a sordid simulation, Laila convinces her colleagues to see the bigger picture.

The short-film touches on difficult issues like the horrors of war, ethnic stereotypes, misogyny and Islamophobia but in a very clever and witty way. The light and images are stunning and the star of the movie, Alia Shawkat makes for the perfect aspiring actress. Hailey Gates explains: “I became fascinated by instances of people acting, but in real life, and how that affects the psyche and your emotional state. This type of military exercise was innovated by a TV producer. I thought it was so interesting that we were sending soldiers to Iraq and training them in a Hollywood-esque facility.”

Find out more about Women’s Tales here.


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