Tall Are the Roots

Byredo channels the zeitgeist of our uncertain times to mark the release of the Mixed Emotions scent
Byredo channels the zeitgeist of our uncertain times - YouTube

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London-based filmmaker Fenn O’Meally directs a multifaceted narrative of acceptance and liberation for the debut of Byredo’s contemporary fragrance, Mixed Emotions. An epicene scent designed to evoke the tumultuous nature of our times speaks to a world in flux and, through this film, pays homage to those who embrace their vulnerabilities and fluid identities.

Drawing on the Byredo philosophy of translating fragmented memories and abstract ideas into scent, Tall Are the Roots collects dance, music, poetry, and philosophy and distills it into raw feeling. “Like Mixed Emotions, I want to leave Tall Are the Roots up to people’s interpretation,” explains O’Meally. “How the scent smells on your skin or what you might connect with in the film will be different for everyone.”

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

© Nick Offord

O’Meally shoots a quartet of dancers gracefully moving through the neoclassical interiors of Syon House, a sixteenth-century stately home that has undergone profound changes over the years. In a film focussing on identity, diversity, race and inclusion, the location’s layered history throws into relief the evolving nature of the cast who feature in this film.

Kai-Isaiah Jamal is a poet, performer, model and trans visibility activist using Instagram as a tool for good. Their exquisite rhymes provide the scaffolding on which the rest of the cast in this film hang their craft. Abdourahman Njie is a choreographer and Alewya Demmisse is an artist, model and musician—a creative triple that captures the millennial/Gen Z spirit of living one’s truth and never sacrificing passions. Deneille Percival, a contemporary dancer and model, candidly ruminates on his lived experiences before the film’s closing refrain from political activist and writer Athian Akec, who uses his voice to decry climate change, youth violence, and racial inequality.

As the cast considers the dualities accorded to human existence, Tall Are the Roots provides a refreshing reminder that it is okay to not be okay. “The mind flows with such fluidity from darkness into light,” says O’Meally. “Ultimately, this film is about figuring out where you stand in the world and being okay with the unsettled state of the human mind right now.”

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