Making Your Own Mittens

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Want those mittens to hug your fingers like they're dipped in pudding? Learn to knit and make them yourself. Want a product to fit into a piece of entertainment the same way? Knit them together yourself, of course.
This is where it gets a little too meta for my tastes.
This is where it gets a little too meta for my tastes.
That's what Philips did to promote its new Aurea LCD television. With director Kar Wai Wong (who's no stranger to commercials, and especially using good music in them) and DDB Amsterdam, it made a swirling, futuristic six-minute promotional film called "There's Only One Sun" that can be watched in its entirety online (more on that aspect later). Kar is a master of colors and uses his impressionistic visual language much like he did in his previous work 2046, which was similarly beautiful and convoluted.

It's notable in the way that the TV is built into not only the online player, but within the movie itself. At one point, it becomes super-meta, with the main character -- played by Amélie Daure -- looking at a photo on the Aurea while you watch her in an Aurea-shaped player in your browser. Somehow, if you can cut through the obtuse dialogue and byzantine plot, we are expected to understand that she was blinded by this vision but can still revel in pictures on a screen. While caressing the LCD, she at one point coos, "Sometimes we need to see things through a screen... on one side of the screen, memories fade. On the other, they glow forever."

Laying it on a bit thick, perhaps, but Philips and the director also went through the trouble of making the score downloadable for those of us who like to hear a film too. "Seduction by Light," a 5-and-a-half-minute piece comprises almost the entire, and was composed by Mark Slater and performed the London Symphony Orchestra. It's wonderful, but it would have really been wonderful if they had also gotten the rights to distribute the song featured in the trailer and the end of the movie, Connie Francis's "Siboney," which was also on the soundtrack to 2046.

But the most confusing thing about this little film? The frame rate is terrible, making it irritating to sit through. This encoding bungle steals the charm from the gorgeous fluidity of colors and scenes, and it's surprising that today someone would let this film leave the workshop in such a state. It's like someone took all the measurements, bought all the yarn, planned everything perfectly, and then... skipped every other row of the mittens, leaving them hopelessly unsatisfying.