Luz works at a gallery but her real passion and purpose in life is as an opera singer. She’s been invited to audition for Madama Butterfly at one of the principal theatres in Mexico City. Luz must practice. Her friends Lucian and Chío instruct her. How to make her voice and hands dance. She’s told, “Your mouth is twice the size of your eye,” and this is all part of a divine geometry that governs the world.
EYE TWO TIMES MOUTH, written and directed by Lila Avilés, is the 25th commission from Miu Miu Women’s Tales. The acclaimed short-film series invites today’s most profound and original female directors to investigate vanity and femininity in the 21st century.
Lila Avilés (b.1982) is a Mexican independent film director, screenwriter, and producer. Her feature film, The Chambermaid, was chosen to represent Mexico at the 92nd Academy Awards and won numerous prizes from more than sixty film festivals around the world. In 2023, Avilés will premiere her latest film, Tótem, about a young girl navigating a world of adults.
Akemi Endo plays the lead character, Luz, in Eye Two Times Mouth. Endo is a soprano based in Mexico City, whose grandfather, Kensaku Endo, arrived in Mexico after World War II. Noted tenor Alan Pingarron plays Lucian, and veteran actress Irene Akiko plays Chío.
Sixteen years ago, Avilés worked on a Mexico City production of Madama Butterfly. It was her first encounter with opera: “I was in love.” Avilés’ interest in people and animals came magically together in Puccini’s tragedy about cross-cultural obsession and betrayal. Madama Butterfly also reminds Avilés how Mexican and Japanese mystical philosophies overlap. Avilés’ then worked her way up the theatre world, “in make-up, scenography, as a PA, and director,” which — along with being a mother — taught her the value of respect and care for others. When Avilés’ received the Miu Miu Women’s Tales commission, she was thrilled because, “as someone who is enthusiastic about stories, this series offers an open invitation. It felt like a rush!”
A refrain runs through Eye Two Times Mouth based on a Japanese proverb: “The slight flutter of a butterfly’s wing can be felt on the other side of the world.” Luz — a sensible and dedicated young woman — dreams of transformation, much like a caterpillar morphs into a chrysalis, then into a butterfly. When we eventually see Luz on stage, dressed as Puccini’s lead character Cio-Cio San, she dazzles; her metamorphosis is complete. In Eye Two Times Mouth, everything is connected: personal and mythic pasts, as well as the hands, ears, eyes and mouth. As Lila Avilés’ remarks, “it’s about the journey.”
Lila Avilés new episode for Women’s Tales will be premiered in London at the Curzon Mayfair cinema on February 15th .
The short is afterwards available on Miu Miu digital channels. EYE TWO TIMES MOUTH will be available to stream on MUBI globally.