Stop It, Commercials

From the Director of “Raging Bull” Comes ABSOLUTE NONSENSE

Posted in Uncategorized by hendyhendel on September 19, 2011

Fashion commercials are inherently ridiculous. Models are not actors, they are physical ideals. They are fortunate faces and crafted bodies. They are eyes that have to speak, because the mouth rarely can. Forcing models to play-act borders on cruel, so the shots are kept simple and cinematic, literally moving pictures: always lovely, rarely connected.

Now throw in one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and a French actor whose one American credit is a forgotten “Silence of the Lambs” prequel, and watch shit get holy shit enraging.

This commercial, apparently released a year ago but just now getting major airplay, stars Gaspard Ulliel (A Very Long Engagement, Hannibal Rising) and was directed by Martin Scorcese (you don’t need credits, because its THE GODDAMN MARTIN SCORCESE). Along with the commercial, there’s a 4-part YouTube series on the making of this commercial. It’s mostly Ulliel struggling to express himself in English, making obvious and inane statements about whatever location they were shooting at (particularly inspired is his joy at shooting on a subway, of all things). Scorcese never even acknowledges the making-of camera, and might have been filmed without his knowledge or consent.

Apparently, Chanel thought they had an event on their hands. They’ve got a recognizable actor (in France) and a world-class director. Essentially, they’ve got the same winning formula of Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal.” Chanel relied exclusively on pedigree.

Now, the commercial. Famous guy is at a press conference for …something. He gets asked a question by an old flame that he struggles to answer. In his struggle, he starts flashing back on his life. When asked if he’d like the question rephrased, he makes an unconnected statement, the walls collapse, and he leaves.

What the hell is going on??

Who is he? What has he done? Why is there a press conference? How did this girl get in? What question did she ask? How does “I’m not going to be the person I’m expected to be anymore” answer anything? If she’s so important, then why does the room fall apart and he just walk away?

Not one of these questions are answered at all. It’s opaque garbage, and at the end of the day, all you’ve got is the same as any goddamn fashion commercial that didn’t drag out Gaspard Ulliel and Martin Fucking Scorcese: pretty pictures strung together. Glamour. Style. Charisma. This was directed by a man whose career is built on redefining genres (boxing movies, gangster movies, concert films), but he was brought in to be Martin Scorcese pointing a camera at things.

Ralph Lauren gets commercials. The Polo commercials, with the same ultra-handsome gent doing stuff you’ll never do like play polo, go yachting, or reasonably wear driving gloves, played over swelling, orchestral music. These commercials are arrogant as fuck, but who gives a shit? Anyone who has bought clothes know how clothes advertising works. Anyone who has ever tried to manipulate their image and surroundings through style knows what works and how it works (whether consciously or unconsciously). Chanel may have shot for the moon here, but it was with a sawed-off shotgun in the middle of a crowded street. This commercial is loud, abrasive, unnecessary, and doomed to fail.

Unless Chanel sells way too much Bleu, in which case fuck whatever I say, I guess. Maybe it smells good, I don’t know. The commercial is full of shit, is what I’m saying.