English rock band Suede are back, with their ninth studio album Autofiction due to be released later this year. And to help build the hype, they've teamed up with MrMr director Katie Lambert to create a visual companion piece that explores modern anxieties about human connection.
Shot in black and white and bookended by two tracks from the forthcoming album, Autofiction: A Short Film is an 18-minute film that follows two protagonists as they wrestle with their feelings at a fraught emotional crossroads.
Dealing with themes that are at the heart of the new album, namely the complexities of memory, the perceived truth, communication and anxiety in human relationships, both the film and the album promise to be one of singer Brett Anderson's most personal records yet. He even admits that Autofiction "has a natural freshness. It's where we want to be."
Despite being Suede's first short film, the band is no stranger to visual collaboration. In their formative years, they released a concert film made with Derek Jarman live at London's Clapham Grand, and in 2015 they debuted Night Thoughts in its entirety, accompanied by their own silent film directed by Roger Sargent, prompting The Telegraph to pose the question, "Have Suede reinvented the album?" Autofiction promises to be a little different, though.
Speaking about Autofiction: A Short Film, Suede bass player Mat Osman said: "With the Autofiction short film, we didn't want to make a normal performance video – instead, we wanted to make a short film that overlapped at a Suede gig, with the band as just a minor part of the film, rather than at the centre.
"MrMr then came up with the idea of taking a crossroad in a couple's life and playing with it in odd ways - moving backwards and forwards in time, seeing it through different sets of eyes, seeing their hopes and fears and memories all jumbled up too. Autofiction: A Short Film takes some of the album's themes: youth and ageing, love and loss, fear and joy – and sees them play out in the story of Chris and Hannah."
Director Katie Lambert, MrMr, added: "Autofiction: A Short Film is about that moment in a relationship when it's crunch time. The moment you're at a certain age and forever feels incredibly close. When you're unsure if you're with the one, if you could find another one, or if that's a crap societal construction anyway.
"We loved the idea of creating a film which centres around a real-time night and a gig – but that actually explores past, present and future all at once. Which is a mush and mess of feelings; because isn't that the memory soup we're constantly swimming in anyway?
"This film felt like a true collaboration. Hannah and Chris have so much of both of us in them. This film is an Autofiction not just of Suede's beautiful new music, but also of MrMr."