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ACMI Review: Ellery in Paris


Ellery in Paris, directed by Patrick Pearse, takes a look at Kym Ellery, a thirty-year-old Australian fashion designer launching a show at Paris Fashion Week. With stylish cinematography, the film focuses on Kym’s personality, enthusiasm and strong dedication during the lead-up to her show.

This film looks striking, first and foremost. Entirely in a crisp greyscale, the often crowed scenes have a neat and calming appearance. Ellery in Paris evokes fashion photography the whole way through, utilising a lot of focal softening, sun glare and wide shots with a lot of open space. Dramatic outdoor time-lapses of Paris landmarks such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower contrast with the more intimate scenes of Kym lying on her bed and reflecting. The music, supervised by Graz Mulcahy, is not overused and quite similar throughout. The sound is just boppy enough (if that’s a word) for the film’s atmosphere – though I preferred the times with instrumental music only, as I found vocals a bit distracting.

Despite its stylised appearance, this film has a lot of genuine heart, with Kym’s zeal and big personality pouring through. Her family members, partner, friends and co-workers appear on camera in snippets, many in pleasantly natural settings, chatting about Kym’s childhood, career and individualism.

The sometimes montage-like style does an excellent job of portraying the intensity of the preparation time leading up to Kym’s show, from miniature disasters – such a colleague not being able to make it to Paris or two boxes getting lost in a delivery of shoes – to the twenty-four hour grind of getting everything necessary ready. The film uses simple white titles on a black background appearing at intervals to give a detailed countdown (“eighteen hours and twenty-six minutes before the show”).

Ellery in Paris is an entertaining documentary with an upbeat mood and beautiful aesthetics that takes you into an important moment in this gutsy designer’s career.

Ellery in Paris is apart of ACMI’s 2014 Fashion on Film season, to find out more visit

Reviewed by: Grace Ephraums, July 2014