Special Feature: Hollywood Directors and TV Commercials (part two)
Welcome back! Last time, I shared some of the television commercials made by such legendary filmmakers as Wim Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard, and Fellini himself. This time around I have three more recent directors' works for you to enjoy. What happens when big-name Hollywood filmmakers are asked to schill products? You get very peculiar advertisements and interesting snapshot microcosms of that artist's ouevre.
DAVID LYNCH'S SURREAL ADVERTISING
What can I say about David Lynch? The visionary artist behind 'The Elephant Man,' 'Blue Velvet' and 'Mulholland Drive' is no stranger to the small screen; he wrote and created the cult classic series 'Twin Peaks.' (Check out the Television Time Machine about 'Twin Peaks')
When asked why such a respected director would continue to produce television commercials on the side, Lynch stated "they’re little bitty films, and I always learn something by doing them." You can't argue with that.
I imagine even without knowing who produced it, fans of Lynch could pick his style out of this advertisement:
Perhaps the creepiest public service announcement ever created. The man made 'Eraserhead,' after all. The above was produced and aired in 1991 when Lynch was asked to raise awareness of New York City's rat infestation epidemic.
In this next offering, Lynch produced an advertisement for Georgio Armani in 1992. Lynch has since commented that Armani gave him the most freedom of any commercial advertiser that Lynch ever worked with. The result of that freedom is this two-and-a-half minute commercial film told entirely without words:
And I have to include this third one, if only because it is a commercial for Sony's game console Playstation. Produced in 2000, the following one-minute spot is entirely open to interpretation.
I invite and encourage any and all readings of this commercial in the comments section below.
ROMAN POLANSKI AND PARISIENNE
Polanski is famous for featuring smoking in his classic films, such as 'Chinatown' and 'What?' Here, he produces a more straightforward advertisement than Lynch's offerings. The spot was commissioned to be played in movie theatres across Switzerland--Polanski was one of a handful of famed directors who answered Parisienne's call.
The music in the one-minute Dracula spoof is just perfect. Aside from that and the lighting, there is no discernable evidence that this is specifically Polanski--it is just a good commercial advertisement.
WES ANDERSON AND HYUNDAI
Anderson, pictured at the start of the article, is beloved by today's film critics. Having most recently written and directed 'Moonrise Kingdom,' Anderson's quirky style and propensity for awkward dialogue can be enjoyed in films like 'Bottle Rocket,' 'Rushmore' and 'The Royal Tenenbaums.' Mixing comedy with pathos, tragedy with smiles, Anderson has established himself as one of the most important filmmakers working today.
So it's no surprise that Anderson opted to put his distinctive fingerprint on his advertisement for the Hyundai Azera.
Hyundai asked Anderson to produce these spots in 2012, making them the most recent ads on the list by a wide margin. This accompanying commercial seems to bear the mark of Anderson's enigmatic style even more than the former:
Unlike Lynch or Godard (who we looked at in part one), Anderson is much more willing to conform to the standard expectations of commercials by the close of each spot. Much like in each of his features, pausing the footage to take in the incredible attention to detail is quite rewarding (particularly in the father's house in the first ad).
Well that does it! This special feature was inspired by the new Joel and Ethan Coen television advertisement, raising awareness about clean coal. What do you think? Does it hurt a famous director to create television advertisements? Do you enjoy them more than traditional, "nameless" commercials? Let us know!