Behind the doors of 13, rue de la Paix, Gong Li is transported to another world, the land of High Jewelry. With an approach that is both passionate and free-spirited, the actress reflects the fundamental values of the Maison. The international star gained recognition with her performance debut in Zhang Yimou’s film ‘Red Sorghum’ in 1987, which won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival the same year. Since then, Gong has starred in numerous major roles in award-winning films like “The Story of Qiu Ju,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Curse of the Golden Flower,” and took home best actress at the film festivals in Berlin and Venice International Film Festival, and The Golden Lion award. She has also served as a jury member and president of international film festivals throughout her career and was appointed a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2010, the first for a Chinese woman.
According to Arnaud Carrez, senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cartier, Gong Li is “an amazingly inspiring role model for all women in the world, across all generations.”
After filming in the Cartier boutique in Paris, the Paris motion design team set about creating the set using textures provided by the Mazarine and Cartier agency. These textures are all present on Cartier products or establishments to transport the viewer on a real journey into the brand’s universe. To achieve this, our artists followed the classic rotoscoping steps, before moving on to assets integration. The main challenge was artistic and focused on the combination of image and sound, as Cartier’s identity had to emerge through the screen in a subtle way, following the rhythm desired by the client. Gong Li was very involved in the project and visited The Mill Paris studio twice to supervise the editing with our teams.
I was delighted to be involved in this project alongside the motion design team in Paris, all long-standing colleagues. When we received the brief from Cartier, we thought it was original and elegant. The artistic director of the Mazarine agency, Cyrille Clapin, had this concept and this graphic style of cut-out elements. His creative intent was very clear and we quickly understood his expectations.
The shoot took place in the iconic Paris boutique. It was unusual to shoot in a boutique, but very pleasant because you can walk through the different themed private rooms. In fact, all the elements and different materials that appear in the film were shot in the boutique. These are materials present on clothes, floors, ceilings, gilding... that customers can find when they enter a boutique.
We shot the live images and then rotoscoped Gong Li and the various elements, putting them on a white background and then making parts of the elements appear in After Effect in post-production. The rotoscoping of Gong Li was done by The Mill team in Bangalore and the rest of the elements in Paris. Technically the effects were simple to achieve, but artistically we had to find the right balance in placement, transitions and appearances. The script and the emotion it evokes also depended on the synchronisation of image and sound. We made several versions to arrive at the final result, which is softer and more refined than our initial tests. The actress, Gong Li, was very involved both during the shoot and afterwards, coming twice to our studio in Paris to work with us on the editing. It's a great project that we can be proud of, with a talented team. Special thanks to Agathe Sayegh, Julien Maurin and David Mendes - Olivier Jarry, VFX Supervisor