Satoshi Kon, Fellini, Herbie Hancock: Martin Scorsese's Chanel Ad Rings Our Bell

Satoshi Kon, Fellini, Herbie Hancock: Martin Scorsese's Chanel Ad Rings Our Bell
Still from Perfect Blue (1997) via the library leave me alone

As a blog run by out of work critics it's The Stopgap's duty to ring the bell when it's time. The new Chanel ad for Bleu de Chanel is directed by Scorsese and features Timothy Chalamet who is, whatever else you might say about him, a very good vessel.

It's really truly quite original—filled with references, from the stills of Helmut Newton to explosive anime transitions—but in service of making something else. I definitely haven't got them all but here are some starters that I think genuinely relate to Scorsese's personal fan canon.

The music is a remix of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit," which also sports some gorgeous blue/monochrome shots, although a lot of the original video is famously amazingly deranged:

There is a strong, strong '80s NYC vibe to this ad that I love because it catches some of the flavor of the '90s fashion advertising that aped it while also going back to the fuck-you formalwear of it all.

Oddly, I think it's via the weird plasticine faces of the Hancock video that the Scorsese add comes around to a Cronenberg genre vibe—not in this case through the texture of the ad's world, but through Chalamet's springy action and the video-y motion of it all. I guess I mean jumping while wearing a skinny suit and not knowing who you are.

videodrome movie

Speaking of jumping in the city, this is the Frances Ha of boys!!!!

frances ha

Á bout de soufflé I don't think needs mentioning, or Mauvais Sang, or any of the other great French romances about running really fast down the street with a song in your heart.

In interviews Scorsese and Chalamet have referenced Fellini's 1968 Toby Dammit, a Terence Stamp movie about being a hellbound alcoholic working in Rome:

“We were in Queens at four in the morning and he was bounding up the subway stairs,” Chalamet said of Scorsese. “It should’ve occurred to me sooner that I try to find something to work on with him. Yes, it’s a perfume ad, but for me it was an opportunity for an enormous education.”
Timothée Chalamet Leads Martin Scorsese’s 60-Second Chanel Ad – Watch
Havana Liu Rose co-stars in the cologne campaign for the French fashion house.

Toby Dammit is a great piece and part of a set: Spirits of the Dead, aka Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a tripartite horror anthology from 1968 with one film by Fellini, one by Louis Malle (William Wilson), and one by Roger Vadim (Metzengerstein).

For the train scenes, we are absolutely in Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon (1997)

Though there are shades of Blade Runner and M in the city too.

Our sexy mystery blue-lit mist lady is giving me Antonioni

And Maggie Cheung in Irma Vep

And Anita Mui in Johnnie To (1993) Heroic Trio


You may recall that last year's June 1 video by Mario Sorrenti was "Nights in White Satin" themed, and also blue / monochrome and wasn't very good.

What do you see!! I'd love to update with reader vision