The cinematography is another saving grace. The vibrant autumn foliage and striking architecture create a world suspended in time. That timelessness was intentional, explains von Furstenberg. The film blends furniture and cars from different decades; in one scene, Fernanda sips soda from glass bottles.

"Our intention was to tell a story that could happen to anybody anywhere at any time," says von Furstenberg.

Working on a tight budget, von Furstenberg says she dressed the characters in clothing from her own closet — although her mother did design the school uniforms.

Von Furstenberg, who is the mother of an 11-year-old daughter, says adolescents are the target audience for this movie. Since the film received an "R" rating, that could make it a tough sell. Some parents might be scandalized by the idea of their daughters watching such a sexy film. But von Furstenberg says the movie's adulterous drama may be less damaging for teens than the sarcastic characters they often see on the screen.

"A lot of the culture that's given to them I think is far worse, because it's reductive," says von Furstenberg. But the characters in this film — Fernanda, in particular — are "proactive and strong," she says.

"They do check in with themselves and they do make really difficult decisions," says von Furstenberg. "And they're adventurous — and that's what life is about."

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