November 30, 2015

Depp goes "sauvage" in commercial

This Dior Sauvage commercial is a couple of months old, but I just saw it the other day. I think one or two people mentioned it when it came out, but it didn't register with me then.

Here's the scoop:

Some find new Johnny Depp commercial a little confusing

By Dallas FranklinDior recently debuted a new television commercial that has a lot of people talking.

Dior’s new spot for its cologne “Sauvage,” features Johnny Depp leaving a city in a vintage car.

“I gotta get out of here,” he says.

After seeing a buffalo out in the middle of nowhere, Depp pulls over and starts walking through the desert.

“What am I looking for?” he asks.

Then, he digs a hole in the desert and takes off all his accessories.

“It’s something I can’t see,” he says. “I can feel it.”

He ends the commercial saying, “It’s magic…Sauvage.”

Johnny Depp For Dior Sauvage Commercial Doesn't Skimp On Drama Or Eyeliner—VIDEO

By Renata Certo-WareDior has been teasing us all summer, first with news of a Hollywood leading man as the face of Sauvage, the house's first new fragrance in a decade, and then with a 15-second trailer for the commercial. Now, the Dior Sauvage commercial with Johnny Depp is finally here in full, and it's basically a Depp-fueled fashion fever dream.

There were a lot of distinctly Depp-ian elements at play here—eyeliner and rows of hoop earrings a la Jack Sparrow, an electric guitar solo evocative of his Viper Room days, and that goatee-and-purple-shades look that's been more or less omnipresent since right around the time Blow came out. Even the appearance of animals like a buffalo, a wolf, and a hawk seem to be referential of Depp's claims to Native American ancestry. Most striking, perhaps, are the undeniable Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vibes, from the sleek classic car making a lone desert crossing to the slightly hallucinogenic animal cameos.
Comment:  Certo-Ware notes the "Native" animal references, but I'd say the Native theme goes deeper than that. Indeed, I'd call the commercial a Native fantasy of sorts.

Let's recap:

  • Depp leaves civilization--represented by the big city--looking for something better.

  • He heads for the desert--the Mohave Desert, I believe--the stereotypical home of Indians.

  • He passes oil derricks, a common sight in Indian country (Oklahoma, North Dakota and Montana). Call it a transitional scene between the white man and nature.

  • He sees a buffalo, hawk, and wolf (or coyote), which together symbolize Native culture and only Native culture. Like stereotypical "spirit animals," they suggest he's on the right track.

  • He hears the hawk cry, a classic Native trope of movies and TV shows.

  • He sheds his accessories--basically everything that's loose and metallic. These items presumably stand for wealth or manufactured goods.

  • Finally, having left his material life behind, he declares his state "sauvage" (savage).

  • The commercial's message is clear: Depp = Indians = savages = people unconnected to civilization. Since today's Indians are lawyers and doctors, this is false and stereotypical.

    Depp the "star" presumably approved the commercial's plot and theme. This is more evidence that he knows little or nothing about real Indians. And doesn't care to alleviate his ignorance.

    Everything he says and does indicates he thinks of Indians as nothing but clichés. You know...the noble warrior, the wise elder, the trickster. Much like his portrayal of Tonto, his stereotypical thinking comes straight from the era of Sacheen Littlefeather and the crying Indian.

    For more on Johnny Depp, see Johnny Depp, White Man and Depp's Other Native Movies.

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