The Art of the Sell: “Lamp”

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art. 

I’ve taught a college-level film class, but I didn’t have the time to really dig into examining the mechanics of cinema with the students. Being me, I can’t help but spend my time thinking about exactly which clips I would use to illustrate exactly how movies work, how specific shot and editing choices carry narrative and convey emotion. There’s a passage in Steven Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express, for example, involving an automobile’s gas gauge dipping towards “E,” that neatly demonstrates the capabilities on visual storytelling in a sliver of time. I think, though, that I might lead with “Lamp,” a commercial for Ikea directed by Spike Jonze. Besides standing as a beautiful example of establishing mood, the spot is a master class in the emotional authority of the point of view shot, the lesson made all the better because the use of the technique is centered on a deception that is called out in the final moments. On two different occasions, I declared a belief that Jonze directed the best film of the year. I think “Lamp” belongs in the company of those features in any discussion of the finest efforts of the filmmaker’s career.

Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.

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