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Nicolas Winding Refn’s Commercial for Hennessy X.O is a Pretty Weird Ride

Nicolas Winding Refn

A lot of big-name directors these days got their start in commercial work these days, and in between major films it isn’t at all uncommon to see major film makers keep their skills sharp by doing ads. Just a few weeks ago we reported on a car commercial directed by horror darling Sam Raimi, don’t forget. A new ad with a surprising pedigree has just hit the airwaves, this time a commercial for Hennessy X.O cognac directed by Drive and Pusher director Nicolas Winding Refn and it’s……something. Set to what sounds like an electronic remix of a Hans Zimmer track, the ad is a dizzying blend of imagery, very little of which is what you’d expect in a commercial for expensive hooch. Unless a naked man covered in bronze paint standing in front of an array or mirrors has some connection to alcohol, I don’t drink very much so I honestly wouldn’t know.

What’s kind of interesting is that the ad seems as much in line with something you’d see from Refn’s mentor, surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky as something Refn would make. Some shots, like a pan along a dimly lit garage, are pure Refn. But the weird, surrealist imagery like the bronze fella or his friend in the Native American headdress are the kind of weirdness Jodorowsky is all about. It almost makes me wonder if this is indicative of a route Refn may be going down as a director. There were definitely little surrealist touches in Only God Forgives. Could his next movie, The Neon Demon, be a full-on Jodorowsky-style surrealist head trip? Or maybe this ad is just Refn experimenting with a different visual style, who knows?

Take a look for yourself with the full ad below.


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