Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why is Audrey Tautou smoking a fountain pen?

Here's Audrey Tautou in her pyjamas and drawing deep on a Gauloise, enticing pushovers like me to go and see Coco Avant Chanel. (I obeyed her doe-eyed command last night.)
And here she is again in the poster seen in British cinemas: same pose, same eyes, same pyjamas but instead of the fag, a preposterous pen.
Perhaps she's taking a course in something... utopian-idealist censorship in cinema advertising, maybe.
What bothers me about this in particular is that I don't know exactly who has done it, or with how much authority.
For all I know, our beloved government, which seems to pride itself on inventing new laws even more quickly than it invents new offences, may have actually got this on the statute books; a sub-clause perhaps, in the law banning cigarette advertising. (In addition, cigarettes may not be featured in advertising...)
Far more likely, however, is that this is a voluntary gesture on the part of the film company, but in a way that's even more creepy. Because voluntary is not the same thing as unilateral, and it means that somewhere someone has exerted pressure. And I don't know who, or what form of pressure, or how much. The new-morality Kray twins have sent some of the boys round, it seems. (But all in a good cause so OBVIOUSLY THAT'S OKAY - right, everybody?)
Perhaps they should have cut their losses and gone with this weird and misleading American one, which has a kind of sixties, Warhol factory feel about it:
The film itself is a respectable, unsurprising and unsurprisingly handsome trot through a not terribly interesting life-story; painless, very easy on the eyes and schematic to a fault: all it lacks is the cartoon light bulb appearing over her head every time she sees a bale of black cloth or gets her first glimpse of a Breton fisherman's striped shirt.
I was amused to see Benoît Poelvoorde, who had slipped from my consciousness entirely since his face, fifteen years younger and thinner, had adorned many an undergraduate wall back in my university days, pointing a gun at you on the poster for a ridiculous film called C'est arrivé près de chez vous (Man Bites Dog, 1993) which at the time had seemed sufficiently controversial to be mistaken for important, worthy and, if you were a student, cool. He's very good in this, however, so all is forgotten (again).
I haven't mentioned Audrey, but it would just be embarrassing blather with all critical sobriety switched off and the full compliment of hysterical adjectives, so I'll spare you.