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When film-makers make commercials

From Ridley Scott's Apple Macintosh vision to Spike Jonze's deranged video for Kenzo

Jonze’s Kenzo ad.
Jonze’s Kenzo ad.

Commercials made by film-makers are a bonus for fans, a mini-showcase for the styles and themes we associate the directors with. Like Wes Anderson’s new H&M ad, a Christmas special, that recalls the director’s preoccupation with trains, an assortment of oddball characters, the childlike behaviour of droll adults, and an air of nostalgia mixed with fantasy. Here’s a list of three interesting commercials by famous film-makers:

Ridley Scott unveils the Mac (1984)

A dictator addresses an assembly line of foot soldiers from a giant screen: the world conjured up in Ridley Scott’s Apple Mac commercial could be a mash-up of his own Blade Runner as well as George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. A woman athlete, in red track shorts and white top, running relentlessly, launches a sledgehammer on to the screen resulting in its explosion. Macintosh, Scott’s ad suggests, is nothing short of a revolution. It didn’t turn out to be that much of an exaggeration.

Anderson’s new H&M ad.

David Lynch and them rats (1991)

David Lynch has made a lot of commercials, each carrying his stamp as the master of the surreal and the grotesque. His public service announcement “We Care for New York City" juxtaposes footage of people littering—throwing soft drink cans, paper and plastic and spitting on the streets—with close-up shots of rats from unflattering angles. The black and white photography heightens the disturbing effect.

Spike Jonze wears Kenzo (2016)

Spike Jonze’s ad for Kenzo perfume that came out earlier this year is a delightfully deranged music video. We see a young lady at an awards ceremony, bored out of her mind as the muffle-voiced thanksgiving by a male recipient gradually fades out. What happens next is Jonze’s magic realist version of a feminist fantasy.

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