Chanel No. 5 Films and the question of Stardom.

These are a couple of the Chanel No. 5 Films which have come out in recent years. This merging of entertainment and advertising is called ‘Branded Content’ – which as the name suggests is working towards marketing a certain Brand Name. In this case, it’s the classic Chanel Number 5 perfume, which has had female endorsements from Marilyn Monroe to Catherine Deneuve. It’s interesting to note – through the main choice of female actress – the way stardom works.

1. Both films reference each actresses’ most known and popular film – Amelie for Audrey Tautou and Moulin Rouge for Nicole Kidman

2. Both films were directed by the same director as the films listed above – Baz Lurhmann for Kidman’s Chanel No. 5 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet for Amelie.

3. Look at the way nationality is rendered in each film – the subtle differences between European Femininity and White American Femininity (despite Kidman’s Australian roots).

4. Both films have a marked different visual aesthetic despite the fact that they are selling the same product. Look at the pinkish tones paired with Kidman’s blonde hair as opposed to the yellow tones paired with Tautou.

Each star has a different persona that is built over a career of appearing in films, advertisements, magazines, talk shows, and inter-textual materials. A star’s on-screen and off-screen persona as well as their public and private life begin to merge. If you’re interested in stardom as a formal discourse, I would suggest Richard Dyer’s book Stars (London: BFI Publishing, 1979) – in which Dyer sets out to distinguish between stars as a social phenomenon, stars as images, and stars as signs. Furthermore, he analyses the tensions between ‘character’, star, and performance.

I leave you with a question from Dyer to ponder over stardom and performance…

Are stars a phenomenon of production (arising from what the makers of films provide) or of consumption (arising from what the audience for films demands)? (Stars, Pg. 9)

Chocolate can bring back to life Audrey Hepburn! How morally acceptable is that?

Well, the digital revolution of character creation using digital computer software has finally been applied to television commercials. This Audrey Hepburn is life-like, organic, and beautifully lit. Visual Special Effects technology has come a long way since the awkward looking gaming characters that were not quite realistic enough. Initially, I like this ad because I’m a fan of Hepburn’s work.

Although there is something unsettling about bringing back Hepburn through digital technology. It seems that now more than ever before, people are loosing the ability to control their public image. How is it possible that a company can use Hepburn’s image to add to her persona without her written legal consent? I understand that celebrities are media constructs that are separate from the actual person, but nevertheless, it is the celebrities image that is at stake. I understand if it’s a fictional character based on a look-a-like, but this was intentioned to be Hepburn – her look, performance, aura, everything. If we can start bringing back celebrities from classical Hollywood, how will that change celebrity endorsements? And who will chose which advertisements the dead celebrities will star in? Will VFX threaten ‘the self’ image in today’s digital world?

Conclusion: Amazing, but unsettling