I’m glad to see that the internet hasn’t washed away the willingness big directors and stars have to hawk stuff in Japan. Once upon a time Harrison Ford could peddle Kirin while Kurosawa and Coppola sold Suntory whiskey (I’d do the same — that shit is delicious!) all out of the public eye. YouTube changed that, and now the moneymaking efforts of our favorite ‘artists’ are plain for all to see. And so what? They need cash, too.
So here is Wes Anderson directing Brad Pitt in a Japanese cell phone ad. Normally I wouldn’t bother to highlight this sort of thing — it’s easy enough to stumble upon via a dozen media portals — but since Anderson used the spot to pay homage to Jacques Tati and his Monsieur Hulot character I couldn’t resist. Tati directed himself as the gently bumbling Hulot in a handful of films between ’53 and ’71. The four major films are all available from Criterion, and are all worth watching.
Strike that — they’re essential viewing, equal to the comedies of Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. That Tati isn’t more widely known is criminal. M Hulot’s Holiday, which Anderson nods to in this commercial, is a gentle and wonderful film, but if you’ve got a massive television PlayTime, for which Tati built his own version of modern Paris, is the way to go.
/Film points out that Just Jared had photos of this shoot back in September. Anderson’s commercial is below, and under that is the trailer for Tati’s original M Hulot’s Holiday.