From the film-maker:
I was interested in the contradictory elements of the painting. The action of one woman combing out another woman’s hair evokes memories of having my own hair combed by my mother. I hated it, but now look back on it with nostalgia. The act of hair-combing denotes all mothers and daughters: it can be a metaphor for the history of shared experience, and the passing on of knowledge, beliefs, ideas and hope. However, Degas’s voyeuristic tendencies and rumours of his ill treatment of his female models determine that underneath the guise of this intimate scene lurks something far more sordid. The woman in this painting was, in fact, a prostitute in a brothel.
In parallel, the rich, warm boldness of colour is intimate and encompassing, but the limited palette and the disconnection between the two figures suggest a situational coldness and austerity.
I wanted to speak of this contradiction between intimacy and indifference, make-believe and reality, naivety and a sobering lack of innocence.
A piece inspired by Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas: Combing the Hair ('La Coiffure'), about 1896