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Video of the day. James Gray's "Rise Above"

James Gray tries his hand at directing a commercial with this ad for Martell.

An advertisement for Martell, directed by James Gray and shot by his cinematographer for Lowlife, Darius Khondji (featuring as much camera movement as you might expect from one of Gray's features).

white men still can rise above – fight the demons
Hey, sometimes it can be great:
Cheesiness aside the ad is significant for the aesthetic contrast with Gray’s other work, and it quite clearly isn’t “phoned in”. Also, with such a small body of work this offers a more disproportionate percentage of his oeuvre than it would for most established filmmakers.
There’s a making-of up as well. It’ll be interesting to see what gets added to the palette in Lowlife.
Uh oh, this video relates to alcohol and I’m below the drinking age. Better not watch it or any Pasolini, Scorsese, Kubrick, Gray, Fassbinder, Eastwood, To, Carpenter, etc. etc. But yes, this is pretty cool.
Also I’d put Polanski’s A Therapy up for good ad consideration
“Pretty cool”? On what level? I agree that advertising every once in a while is cultural significant (no, not art) but this clearly isn’t. I know, selling high spirits with high aspirations has a long tradition (and that’s why people tend to think that this lie is respectable). But doing so in this kitschy retro color palette controlled kind of way – using the oldest tropes of ‘genius in action’ – is just very boring. I am writing this as a lover of TWO LOVERS, as a great fan of James Gray, the feature film director. Looking forward to LOWLIFE! C
For your information: I was inspired to write this rant sitting in my modest 400 square metre work space with the finest floor planking you can possibly find. It really helps to find the moment, you know. “Art” is so risky, for some.
V. effective ad. Will pick up some Martell for this weekend. Thanks for the rec!
What a horrible horrible piece of shit. And I say that as a huge fan of Gray. This must be one of the lousiest advertisements I’ve seen in a long time…
“Pretty cool”: a perfectly acceptable phrase for use in a stage of internet-tab flux, although perhaps vague. But primarily for whatever insight it gives into what “look” Gray is currently working with. Especially because it features the cinematographer for Lowlife. For that, this post is pretty cool.
This definitely reminds me of the height of Fincher and Bay commercials, ah, what a time…
I’m also curious because of the insight it gives into what Lowlife might look like…
I’m with CH. Amazed how tacky this is, especially the casting. ;) But, hey, Khondji sure can light a set!
That was rather tacky, what a shame.

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