Director Charles Mehling captures the intoxicating spirit of Paris for The Rolling Stones’ “Living in the Heart of Love,” the first song released off the 40th anniversary edition of Tattoo You. A hedonistic rock and roll love story set in the City of Light’s most shadowy hours, the monochromatic film serves as the de facto homage to Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who passed away just days after the video wrapped.
“Living in the Heart of Love” tracks two female heroes – a modern-day Sid and Nancy (played by actors and real-life couple Nailia Harzoune and Marguerite Thiam Donnadieu) – and a cast of like-minded characters who traverse Paris after-hours, down for whatever magic the night has in store.
Known for his ability to capture iconic and sexy yet spontaneous moments, Mehling and his crew, assembled by executive producers Marieke Tricoire (Womanray Paris) and Olivier Gauriat (Barnstormer Productions), took a cinéma vérité approach over the two night-shoot, utilizing gritty, atypical Parisian backdrops and even the director’s own room at Hotel Grand Amour for the interior party shots. Archival footage of the Stones is cleverly interwoven into the scenes of a bacchanalian night to remember – culminating in an adventure that is glamorous, rebellious, and fun to watch.
The editing stays in lockstep with Charlie Watts’ swing-and-stomp drumming, channeling the Delta blues by way of Swinging London. The film was given an added stroke of relevance and poignancy by the timing of Watts’ passing just two days after wrapping. Even more so by Mick Jagger’s request to close the film with the words “Charlie is My Darling,” a nod to the 1966 Stones documentary of the same name, written in script over an early morning shot of Sacré-Cœur and the sleeping city below. Alexa Haywood executive produced and Semera Khan served as creative director.
A director and photographer with roots steeped deeply in the music world (Mehling played bass for the infamous Brian Jonestown Massacre), it’s no surprise a rock and roll edge resonates in everything he creates. Since his debut music video for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Mehling has gone on to collaborate with musical acts as diverse as The Kooks, Kasabian, Keith Urban, Rihana, and many others. On the commercial side, Mehling is known for fashion and lifestyle work for brands such as Fenty, David Yurman, Budweiser, Smart Water, Jo Malone, Rimmel, Macy’s, and many more.