22 January 2009

Les vacances de Monsieur Pitt

Before seeing Burn After Reading a few months ago, I don't think I had ever seen Brad Pitt in a film. I made no distinction between him and any number of other unintersting 'stars' in the banal Hollywood system. This Japanese advert is the second thing I've seen him in and, lo and behold, it doesn't suck either. It's an hommage to Jacques Tati's Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot (with Pitt as an ersatz Monsieur Hulot), featuring a Serge Gainsbourg soundtrack. The spot was directed by Wes Anderson for the Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank, and was filmed in Normandy (Trouville?) in September 2008.

It's anachronistic (the original film is from 1953, and the music is from 1965) and obviously never going to be as good as the original, but at the same time when you combine 'Japanese advert', 'Serge Gainsbourg' and 'Jacques Tati', the result is always going to be worth a look, and this is certainly far more entertaining that anything we ever see in North America. Ici, on nous prend pour des cons !

As André Schiffrin once said, ‘Whoever has been in charge of selling French culture to the Japanese should be given a medal’.