The current issue of AnOther boasts a cover featuring the charismatic Oscar-winning actress and general cultural muse Rachel Weisz. Shot by Craig McDean and styled by Olivier Rizzo for the glossy quarterly, Rachel really is the person that they mean when they tell you that just because a woman is stunningly beautiful, it doesn’t mean she’s stupid. On the contrary, Rachel started her acting career in a decidedly amateur way whilst completing her education at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. If that isn’t enough in itself to clarify that she’s something of an intellectual, then clearly you aren’t as smart as Rachel.
Inside the issue, the rather anachronistic image of Rachel cradling a shy goat on the cover begins to make a little more sense. Craig McDean’s shoot of Rachel finds her in a Bauschian mood – the two of them even made a short film version of her mini-performances inspired by the legendary Pina Bausch- in a series of frozen action poses that combine all the elements for which the legendary choreographer and her Tanzteater Wuppertal became so well known. Post-industrial landscapes in which a poverty-stricken nature struggles to make a comeback; a beautiful leggy figure of a woman; some energetic and unpredictable antics and a good dose of absurdist humour.
In an aesthetic that is highly evocative of a post-modern style that is particularly bound up with Germanic theatre – how could it not be given the source of inspiration?- a stream of beautiful images of Rachel unfolds. It’s both inevitable and almost incidental that she just happens to be wearing some hot looks from the seasonal collections by the likes of Chanel, Gucci and Maison Martin Margiela.
The beautiful shoot is accompanied by an in-depth interview with Rachel. It’s more of a conversation really given that the person posing the questions is her old friend Harland Miller, writer, artist and raconteur. As it turns out, Harland and Rachel know each other from many years ago. And since the place that they first met was in Berlin in the heady years just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there’s a beautiful symmetry to both the distinctly German mise-en-scène and yet another reminder that Rachel, though every bit a contemporary sex symbol, is not without her brainiac bohemian bent.
As Harland Miller’s story about their first meeting makes clear, Rachel is someone whose past indicates that she feels entirely comfortable with a freewheeling thinker’s demimonde; a devil-may-care disinterest in the conventional in favour the heartfelt poetics of a passion made manifest as life. This is reassuring, least of all because we take away the sense that her identification with the genius that was Pina Bausch is something that has some depth to it and is not merely the opportunistic appropriation of what has suddenly been made more visible by Wim Wender’s astounding 3-D documentary.