At some point in our life, we’ve probably all looked in the mirror and thought “why?”. For Ron, the perplexed lead in Bailey Tom Bailey’s truly distinct short The History of Nipples, it isn’t so much “why do they look like that”, but more “why are they even there?”. He’s become obsessed with his nipples and this new fascination is going to lead him on a dark journey of self-reflection and existentialism.
“The idea was implicitly funny and eyebrow raising”
The initial idea for the film’s concept came to Bailey after he visited an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Dublin and learnt all about an old Celtic ritual that involved sucking on a Kings’ Nipples to bring forth fertility and prosperity to the land. “I loved this image”, the filmmaker explains. “The idea was implicitly funny and eyebrow raising, but had the potential to explore some themes that have always interested me: the human body, existentialism and spirituality”.
As he started writing his story, Bailey soon discovered that the male nipple was the “perfect focal point to explore man’s search for meaning” and so centred his film around one guy’s fascination with his teats. Aiming to create something “audience-focused, funny, tense and visceral”, The History of Nipples takes an unusual premise and combines that with a darkly-comic, unsettling vibe to create a short that explores some grand ideas and provokes conversation…and maybe even a little existential nipple-gazing.
Described by its creator as a “visually driven mix of psychological horror and dark comedy-drama”, The History of Nipples is a fine-looking film sporting an impressive production. Originally conceived as an essay film mimicking sex education videos, the films heightened look was achieved through anamorphic lenses (which Bailey describes as a stretch for their budget) and some amazing practical effects and prosthetics work. The latter of which Bailey knew was effective when he noticed how much his crew were cringing on set.
If you enjoyed The History of Nipples, Bailey has recently released another short, a lockdown project entitled Dead Dad, which features the Bailey family in front of camera, including a particular dedicated performances from the director’s Dad. With a new music video coming in the next couple of weeks and feature Sharp End (a psychological horror/comedy-drama focused on a woman’s sexual fixation with safety pins) in development, we’re excited to see more of Bailey’s unique approach on these new projects.