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|Index||12 reviews in total|
That's what I did, actually. It enhanced the experience. David Lynch is
no stranger to making commercials and although "Lady Blue Shanghai" was
probably intended as one, it didn't feel like it. It felt more like one
of his surreal films with product placement.
We meet a lady, played by Marion Cotillard, in a Shanghai hotel. She goes to her room to mysteriously find music playing on a stereo. She also finds a Dior handbag that seems to suddenly appear out of nowhere. If you've seen a few of Lynch's films, this already feels familiar, but I wouldn't call it hackneyed. The lady thinks someone is in her room, so she calls the front desk, and two men in black suits investigate the room. They find nobody; then, they talk to her, which leads into flashbacks of the woman in Shanghai. The film was dream-like before, but here's where the dreaminess really kicks in.
It almost goes without saying that Lynch knows how to make these types of films, short or feature length. "Lady Blue Shanghai" works. The actors are convincing without overdoing their performances. The cinematography is stunning and although the blurry slow motion camera shots are a bit distracting, they blend right in with the mood and story. The neon lights during the running scene particularly stand out. And what's a surreal film without music? Dean Hurley and David Lynch's heavenly score is really effective. I can't think of anything pretentious about the film.
Like "Eraserhead", "Lost Highway", "Mulholland Dr.", and "Inland Empire", I don't know if there's a purpose to "Lady Blue Shanghai", other than to advertise Dior. There's something about romance. It's linked to the handbag, but I can't go any further. Well, I don't need there to be a purpose to the films I watch, particularly art-house films. They mainly have to be entertaining in some way. If you can take some commercialism, "Lady Blue Shanghai" will hopefully be a beautiful 16-minute experience. I wonder if and when Lynch will make another feature film.
Apparently, and maybe I'm thick-in-the-head, this David Lynch short
film is a commercial for Lady Dior, which is basically a really fancy
handbag. This isn't a surprise that Lynch would make a commercial - he
has made several over the years, maybe as a means to get some of his
ideas out there into the cinematic medium, and maybe, perhaps, to get
some quick money. But this is a little different: this is a 16 minute
film where it's really about a woman who goes to a hotel, a record is
playing mysteriously in her room, and a handbag shines very brightly.
She calls the hotel-help asking what is going on, and then tells a
story of meeting a man before... or thinking she's met a man before, in
The power of this short film is that a) I didn't have any real clue that it was a long-form commercial while watching it, and b) it carries the kind of unique mystery that Lynch unlocks with his approach to cinema - the cinematography (in this case digital video, with a more sophisticated eye than the experimentation of Inland Empire), the editing that emphasizes the human face and the enigmatic movement of characters in the frame, sound editing that is not-of-this world. I still am not quite sure what it's all about, or if it's really what it is in that handbag (I'm more-so reminded of the elusive nature of the blue box from Mulholland Drive), and I almost don't want to know, at least not until two or three more viewings. It also is a big asset that Cotillard, stunning in appearance and her quiet intensity, works so well here for him as his female-muse.
Does it mean as much as his other short films? I'm still not sure about that either. Compared to some of the works on his Short Films of David Lynch or Best of DavidLynch.com DVDs, its not any kind of absurd thing he's dealing with here. It's like a splintered-in-his-mind romantic drama where love and loss and memory and not knowing converge into something one can look at and maybe recognize, or just feel. It's sublime work by a master of his self-made craft.
I got very excited when I saw the new credit to David Lynch's
filmography, but after seeing this short film I think the truth has to
be said: This is not a film, it's a 16 minute commercial for Christian
Dior. I'm still not sure what the product is, maybe it's just the
brand. So, when criticizing this title one must do it on 2 different
levels: as a commercial and then as a short film.
As a commercial, this is pretty good. Everything is in place: the bag, the dress, the make up, and probably even the perfume, although this is one thing we cannot be certain of.
As a short film, this is pretty dull. It seems that David Lynch has completely run out of ideas, and he once again makes a film about "a woman in trouble". Lynch's films of this decade were all about women in trouble. Beginning with "Mulholland Drive" and ending with this piece. Unfortunately, the music and atmosphere cannot hide the fact that Lynch is out of inspiration. This little short film adds nothing to what we've already seen from the man. It doesn't really matter if you don't watch this. Watch "Inland Empire" instead.
I believe that Christian Dior just wanted to exploit poor Lynch's surreal approach to promote their products. I also believe that Lynch. lacking the opportunity to make another feature film, desperately needed the money. I can see no better reason for the making of this film.
And all this I say as a David Lynch fan who thinks Lynch is one of the greatest filmmakers alive today.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maybe I should be upset this is a commercial. I've never bought any
Dior anything and this won't make me run out and buy an expensive
handbag...but it is a great film short. Even with the Dior bag in
place, the bag is so much like other Lynch objects...the blue box from
Mulholland Dr., the envelope with the videotape in it in Lost
Highway...it appears with flashes of electricity and smoke making me
think the lead character must have ended up at the Shanghai branch of
the Black Lodge. The story and there is one, is that the lead character
in true Lynchian style recounts she has been there before but
hasn't...that she is afraid of what is in the bag. It's interesting
that Lynch choices his lead not to go to the object of the commercial.
It's a nice addition to the short that seems to speak secrets.
The short goes on in the lead's flashbacks to another Shanghai where she has a lover and they are trying to run away from something...almost a flashing war like atmosphere, maybe the Battle of Shanghai...and he says he loves her, but he has to leave. He disappears with a Fire Walk With Me blue rose. She is left in the room, in the present, with the bag, which has a blue rose on top of it.
It has a lot of Lynch's mystery, what others call his "Women in Trouble" decade. But really Laura Palmer and Dorothy Vallens were also women in trouble from prior decades. The Blue Lady is just the newest of these creations, stuck in her 15 minutes of fame...was that a set choice, because it seems like one. It's a beautiful shot piece, I love the framing of the scenes and the story, though short and made to sell a product, is again, delightfully anti-commercial and interesting enough to watch a few times and even analyze. It's not perfect because it is a commercial first and art second, which gets a nine from me because of that. I guess Lynch has to make money somehow, since arty directors only get a tiny fraction of what mainstream directors get. But hats off to him, for taking what could be a boring commercial and making it a mysterious romp which has reflections of his past projects. I am not sure why Dior commissioned him for this, but I am glad they did. I only hope other companies hire him to do short films for their websites. It's a pleasure to view them.
Let's get it straight first off: I am a big fan of Lynch's and I know
that this is supposed to be a long ad.
But that does not stop me from thinking that this short film is a ludicrous effort that only serves the purpose of reminding the viewer how great Lynch used to be, at least up to Mulholland Dr., which is now more than ten years ago! Everything, maybe except for the music, is wrong in this short. As usual the plot makes no sense at all, which could be bearable in itself, but no atmosphere is built out of the plot less story either, so the fact that there is no or little story does become a problem. Second, the Chinese actors are terrible, they are so bad that it looks like Lynch cast the first two guys he saw walking down the street. On we go. The bag as mysterious, symptomatic object (see blue box from Mulholland Dr.) is used in a ridiculous way, both when it is seen in the hotel room and on the billboard. Cotillard tries hard but there is little to do with a character that has to deliver useless "I love you" lines to a random Chinese guy waving a blue napkin (or was it a rose).
Finally a word on the digital video cameras. I already disliked Inland Empire because it used them. I think Lynch should abandon this idea and go back to a more traditional technique. The sexiness of movies such as Mulholland and Lost Highway was also due to the fantastic way they were photographed. We do not need the shakiness and the low resolution of Inland Empire and of this short, they just don't add anything while they take away a lot.
Now, Mr Lynch, please go back to make feature films and return to your old standards, we are tired of pointless digital video shorts.
Even though 'Lady Blue Shanghai' was made for a Lady Dior campaign it completely works as a standalone short film. David Lynch yet again creates something that is atmospheric, surreal, chilling and bedazzling. With some excellent cinematography, dazzling visuals, haunting score and the absolutely beautiful Marion Cotillard's enigmatic presence, it is easy to forget that 'Lady Blue Shanghai' was originally intended to promote a handbag. The editing is equally superb. It's made with style but none of it feels unnecessarily overdone. The element of mystery had me completely hooked to the screen (this is something Lynch has successfully done in his previous films). Like many of his films, this one also has an air of ambiguity and is left open to interpretation. His current muse, Marion Cotillard possesses the classic beauty, vulnerability and mystery which allows her to own the role of the nameless woman. 'Lady Blue Shanghai' is easily one of David Lynch's best shortfilms but I would like to see him continue making feature films as the short running time does not do justice to his creation.
David Lynch's new short is only 16 minutes but it's really good. It is everything you would expect from him, it is dreamy, surreal, and visually hypnotic. I have yet to see Inland Empire but I was not that impressed with his output over the last decade. Mulholland Drive was pretty good, but I didn't like the online releases very much. I think Lady Blue Shanghai shows promise for the rest of Lynch's career. Hopefully he will release some more shorts like this and maybe even a movie or two. I hope he does soon, I really enjoy his works. He has so much potential as a director, it's disappointing that he has been in a moderately dormant stage for the past few years. I think that Lady Blue Shanghai is Lynch's best short ever, and he has some very good shorts, such as The Alphabet, Lumiere, and Absurda. All of those were good, but this is even better. It's probably the most dream-like piece I've ever seen him do, and that's really saying something. If you are a David Lynch fan I would recommend you watch this right now. If you like his style then you will probably enjoy this a lot. If you're fairly new to David Lynch but are interested, I still suggest you watch it. It's really good and I hope to see more like it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nothing much really happens in this fifteen-minute short by David
Lynch. Yet I couldn't take my eyes off the nothing much.
Another reviewer claims this is a dull movie but a fine commercial. If I hadn't been told it was a commercial for Lady Dior or Luis Vuitton or Sigfried Sassoon or Max Factor, I wouldn't have known.
Yes, the bespoke handbag features prominently in the film, but not TOO prominently, and it functions in the film as a link between a phantasmagorical past love and the present circumstances of the curiously boffo Marion Cotillard.
She enters her hotel room, a tango from the 1920s playing on the radio, and finds this glittering handbag on the floor of her room Shanghai and two Chinese house detectives appear and ask her about it. Then they stand motionless, speechless, while she spins out this tale of experiencing deja vu at lunch. The story involves her and a lover escaping a room in 1920s Shanghai and landing on a rooftop, at which point the lover says he can't be with her and fades away while handing her a blue flower.
Back to the present. Under the eyes of the two statuesque investigators, she finally opens the bag. Guess what's in it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just the idea, the concept of having Lynch do commercial work sounded interesting enough for me to see the film. It was a bad decision. The film is awful and bears nothing Lynch-like to it. It feels like a 15-year-old is trying to do his vision of what Lynch is and fails at making even a recognizable copy. The fact that the whole thing is a commercial and that the ubiquitous Dior with its bags stings your eyes is actually far from being the worst problem of this film. The plot is so contrived. The acting is terrible, the whole thing is edited like a student film, and hits on so many clichés one must try to justify Lynch by saying he actually made fun of them while taking their money. All is there: silly flashbacks, slow-motion disappearance of a lover as the endless love-yous are being uttered, cheesy Instagram-like sequences of blurry images... I just couldn't believe my eyes, really.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This short movie (or long ads) could be played as a synthesis of Lynch
movies as we can find all his personal world : the woman in danger / in
love, the hotel, the investigators, the dreams, the red curtain, the
mysterious box, the blue rose
What's really excellent here is that
Lynch goes to Asia and it's a wonderful change from small town, USA.
Furthermore, he is always the master in visual filmmaking and his use
of this ultra fast camera allows him to deliver amazing shots with the
neon in the nights ! That's why he is great : he is the only one to
have the intuition to do that !
However, what's awful here is the cast of Cotillard ! I have never really understood why all the praises for such a bad, sad, actress ! Next, for an artist, doing is craft in order to sell goods, even if it's Dior and particularly if it's Dior, is just like losing own's soul ! Today, brands use their money to attract « celebrities » and use their « glamor » to vampire their goods : everyone thinks it's good, well not me !
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