Yesterday night I attended a screening of Le Cinéma Olfactif in Berlin’s Soho House. Cinéma Olfactif is a fascinating concept: enhancing a visual experience through an olfactory sensation; in this case we were watching a film – Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides – whilst a fragrance created especially for this movie was diffused into the audience space at the appropriate moments.
I had read about the Cinéma Olfactif series but this was the first time I actually attended a performance. Cinéma Olfactif is the creation of perfumer Kaya Sorhaindo whose art house perfumery Folie à Plusieurs is developing fragrance concepts for films, exhibitions, performances and events.
For the Cinéma Olfactif screenings in Soho House, Sorhaindo works with perfumer Mark Buxton – and for The Virgin Suicides Buxton came up with an intriguing mélange. The fragrances opens with geranium, violet and aldehydes; heart notes include luscious floral accords of lily of the valley, rose and tonka bean and the dry-down is a dense, smoky base of sandalwood, musk, myrrh, patchouli and cedarwood – very appropriate for a movie set in the 1970s.
The Virgin Suicides was the fourth installment in the Cinéma Olfactif series which began in 2014 with Michael Gondry’s Mood Indigo, followed by Sono Sion’s Love Exposure (Ai no Mukidashi – one of my favourite contemporary Japanese films ever!) and Věra Chytilová’s Daisies.