Lady Blue Shanghai (David Lynch, 2010, France/USA)

Lady Blue Shanghai (2010) joins a long list of David Lynch-directed commercials. Lynch has directed commercials for Calvin Klein, Georgia Coffee, New York City, Yves Saint Laurent, Michael Jackson, Alka-Seltzer Plus, and countless others. Lady Blue Shanghai, his ad for Dior, is notable for two reasons. For one, at around 20 minutes, it feels like a proper short film. Also, the film notably features A-list actress Marion Cotillard. The stipulations for the film were apparently that Lynch just shows the Dior handbag, the Pearl Tower, and old Shanghai. The resulting film feels less like a commercial and more like a short film with some Dior product placement.

Visually, the digitally shot film is clearly in the spirit of the Inland Empire. Cotillard enters a Shanghai hotel room at night and encounters a mysterious Dior bag on the floor that emerges in a puff of smoke. She calls the desk and an investigation begins about the handbag. This results in a flashback where the woman is being embraced by a Chinese man (Gong Tao). There is a profession of love, and the man tells her he wants to stay but cannot. Frequent Lynch collaborator Dean Hurley joins here to produce the film's score as well as the film's immersive sound design.

The dreamlike atmosphere, the mystery, the woman in trouble - all the hallmark Lynchian staples are here. The film does not succeed as an ad, and of course, works better as a short film. The only problem with the film is that it runs a bit long for what it is doing. Overall, it is not one of Lynch's best but it is nice to see him working with Cotillard. We here at Cinephilic Musings are curious to explore more of David Lynch's short films as well as his extensive commercial work.



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