I wouldn’t normally comment on anything I’ve seen on television, but being a graphic artist and a lover of all things beautiful – big and small – I just want to spread the word.
On Sunday, March 4, an ad was released in the US on certain stations, one of which apparently I had on that night. I don’t watch tv, but it is always on just for company. I was not paying attention, as usual, but eventually I turned to the screen because something was not right … the music had been playing for a longer than normal amount of time, and I wanted to see what it was.
I thought it was a movie trailer. It couldn’t be a commercial, it had been playing for much too long. What the heck WAS it?? In the end I realized it was an ad of sorts, and the next day I got online to find out exactly what it was that I had seen.
This is too exquisite to be called a commercial. It was created to commemorate 165 years in business, and is one of the most visually stunning pieces of imagination I’ve ever seen. Some people have complained that it caters to the wealthy, but they’re missing the point – anyone can enjoy beauty, whether you purchase it or not. With its surreal, jaw-dropping imagery of St. Petersburg, Paris, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal, this company created “a cinema epic focusing on its history, its values and inspiration, its artistic and universal scope.” In a society where frantic 30-second ads and abbreviated Twitter blips may account for much of the country’s undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, this three-and-a-half minutes just might stop you dead in your tracks.
As a historical point, the flying machine is one which Alberto Santos-Dumont built and piloted in Paris on October 23, 1906. The flight won a major international prize for the world’s first officially observed flight of at least 25 meters. It was witnessed by a large crowd and recognized by the Aéro-Club de France as “the first flight.” This film clearly shows the airplane, piloted by Santos-Dumont in his iconic hat, just after the panther leaps on board for this magic carpet ride as they approach the Eiffel Tower … not visible in the ad but well recorded is the fact that Santos-Dumont complained to his friend Louis Cartier “about the difficulty of checking his pocket watch” to time his record-setting flight. He then asked his friend to come up “with an alternative that would allow him to keep both hands on the controls.” Apparently the result was “a watch with a leather band and a small buckle, to be worn on the wrist.”
With that said, please enjoy “L’Odyssée de Cartier, a movie between dream and reality.” View it full screen and turn up the volume, as the music is gorgeous. Look for the diamonds dripping from the woman’s hands at the end…