Chanel is always ahead of its peers in whatever it does. Its latest patronage — sponsoring 4K restoration of the film Last Year at Marienbad — shows that the maison is truly on top of its game.
The digitally-restored Last Year at Marienbad premièred on the 5th of September at the Venice International Film Festival where the original version won a Golden Lion in 1961. The screening was followed by a glitzy party in a palazzo hosted by Chanel. The bash welcomed Chanel’s famous friends and ambassadors including Tilda Swinton, Gaspard Ulliel, Naomi Watts, Vicky Krieps, Stacy Martin and Lucia Pica, to name but a few.
Much as its latest patronage strayed from familiar fashion sponsorship, Chanel is no stranger to film collaboration. The house is considered a pioneer in fashion film, almost single-handedly kick-starting this unyielding trend as earlier as in 2004 with a global sensation No.5 The Film starring Nicole Kidman in a Baz Luhrmann-directed short. In recent years, it has been working closely with Tribeca Film Festival to promote women in cinema.
Last Year at Marienbad, however, holds much deeper meaning to Chanel than any other of its foray into cinema. In the film, New Wave director Alain Resnais tells the story of a woman wooed by a man who tries to convince her that she had, just about a year ago, promised to elope with him. The film is praised for its unprecedented narration and style, the ethereal presence of its leading lady Delphine Seyrig and the costume that helps the spectator rebuild the story’s chronology. It was Mademoiselle Chanel who created the whole wardrobe for Delphine Seyrig’s character.
The film featured pieces from the Chanel haute couture collection, the absolute representation of contemporary fashion. On screen, Delphine Seyrig shines with her sophisticated, ultra-chic, and desirable silhouettes, wearing sumptuous shoes and jewellery. One look in particular made a big impression: a black chiffon dress that immediately became the “dress à la Marienbad”, a consecration for CHANEL’s little black dress. Every woman wanted it. And foremost among them was Brigitte Bardot, who explained to the designer her “desire to have the same dress as Delphine Seyrig.”
With the legendary founder being a monumental part in making the film, Chanel is quick to participate in the restoration led by StudioCanal and Hiventy. The grading process, a central part of this restoration, was conducted based on scans of the original negatives and using the software Resolve. This allowed the original contrast and the beautiful black & white image to be faithfully reproduced. This process highlights the delicate and elegant photography and lighting developed by Sacha Vierny and Alain Resnais using a Dyaliscope lens. Before approval, the cuts and visual effects were compared with an original release print.
In addition, dust, scratches, and a few other flaws due to natural wear on the original film reel have been cleaned up using a graphics tablet. The soundtrack was also restored using the original 35mm mix.
After its world premier at Venice Film Festival, the film will be shown in cinema in France from September 19th, 2018. The BLU-RAY/DVD will be released on September 25th, 2018.