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Chopard has long been the crown jewel of Cannes, and it celebrated its role at the iconic film festival with the London premiere of Alexis Veller’s documentary about the prize The Legend of the Palme d’Or.
A bevy of boldfacers came out to fete the film last Wednesday in London, including Lindsay Lohan, Daisy Lowe, supermodels Erin O’Connor and Eva Herzigova, as well as design duo Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo of couture house Ralph & Russo.
Veller’s documentary shows the Palme’s life, from birth in the fair-mined caves of Peru, through the creation in Switzerland to the hands of winners such as Martin Scorsese, Jane Campion, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh, among other major talents.
Veller mimicked the style of each director to create the aesthetic of each vignette, taking the viewer from the lush mountains of New Zealand with Campion to a quick-cut soda shop set of Tarantino (complete with a waiter — still in uniform — plucked from a local Mel’s Diner midday).
The directors’ share their memories of winning, and often the consequences of it.
“In the spirit of each we can find a common denominator, that even if it’s the biggest moment of their career, there is something won and something lost,” said Veller of the stories shared.
Wim Wenders was paralyzed with fear and couldn’t pick up a camera for three years; Apichatpong Weerasethakul returned to a Thailand in turmoil; and Campion lost the child she was carrying at the time. “It tells a lot about the best moment of your life, but there is something difficult to live through after. It’s one of the lessons of the movie,” he said.
Still the film has lighter moments, such as the time when then-unknown Emir Kusturica was so obscure that someone else got up to claim his award with no one in the audience the wiser. And Scorsese coyly refuses to divulge where the Palme is now, admitting it’s somewhere only he can see it.
Veller conceived of the movie after Chopard president and creative director Caroline Scheufele told him about the company’s switch to fair-mined gold. “I wanted to tell that, but for me it was not enough, I also wanted to have the echoes of the award and what it means for the directors,” said Veller.
Chopard’s relationship started when Scheufele was seated next to former film festival president Pierre Viot and found herself less than impressed with the award’s design and took it back to Switzerland for a cinema-style makeover. Chopard and Cannes have now been together for 19 years.
Added Veller: “Sometimes love stories start like that.”
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