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Spike Jonze’s Wonderful New Short Film Puts A Spin On Sexist Advertising

Dance like no one is watching, Margaret Qualley!

Image via YouTube

It’s a music video! No, a short film! Wait, could it be a perfume commercial? Or is it all of the above? Who knows, and honestly, who cares? Spike Jonze’s new video featuring actress and dancer Margaret Qualley is, above all, a stunning take on your traditional perfume ad—partly because you don’t know it’s an ad for the new Kenzo fragrance until the very end.


“When we think about perfume campaigns, we think about a pretty girl with a bottle,” says Qualley, who is best known for her role in HBO’s The Leftovers. “This clip is exactly the opposite. It’s very multi-faceted and different; it takes the spectator by surprise.”

It can be difficult to achieve surprise in a feature-length film, let alone a four-minute experimental music-video-advertisement hybrid. The video (which you can view directly above) starts off with Qualley looking painfully bored at some sort of highfalutin charity function—a gala from hell, if you will. She leaves the dinner and with the rest of the opulent building at her disposal, launches into a freewheeling, expressive performance that defies the coquettish, perfume-selling female stereotype.

This isn’t the first time Spike Jonze has delighted us with a fresh, artistically driven music video. You might remember he directed the Fatboy Slim video for “Weapon of Choice” in 2000 starring Christopher Walken dancing his way around a similarly lonely hotel. In both videos, there’s a sense of humor underlying Jonze’s trademark eeriness. Though, really, would you expect anything less from the director of Her, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich?

Here’s a pro-tip from someone who’s already watched “Mutant Brain” too many times: change the settings to half speed. The music becomes intoxicatingly distorted, adding new value to the song that Jonze’s own brother, Sam Spiegel, and Ape Drums composed. Slowed down, it’s exponentially creepier—not to mention easier to get clean still shots of your favorite scenes. Like this one:

Image via YouTube

Some might call this attention to detail “obsessive” or “borderline stalker status,” but watch it in slow-motion once and you’ll quickly realize there’s no going back.

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