An amusing spot for Swedish pension provider AMF has fun with the idea of the reason behind Mona Lisa's famous, mysterious smile.
The ad, by Forsman & Bodenfors, recreates Leonardo da Vinci's studio in 16th century Florence as he greets a haughty Mona Lisa. "My favorite model," he says, as she arrives for work. As he starts to paint her, she wears an inscrutable and slightly bored expression, but then he tells her he's going to set aside extra money on top of her salary as a pension. Slowly, the ghost of a smile appears on her lips.
A bit of a reach, but the storytelling is so well done it inspired grins on our faces as well. Tomas Jonsgarden at Reform Film directed the spot. As for how Mona Lisa was cast and how that smile was recreated, Forsman & Bodenfors creative team Jacob Nelson and Evelina Ronnung tell us: "As soon as we got the idea, we realized that our major challenge was to find our Mona Lisa. She had to be a good actress, speak English and look like a painting. We looked at hundreds of women along the way. Some looked pretty much like Mona Lisa on a photo, but then on film--they just didn’t. For the woman we cast in the end it was quite the opposite. She didn't look like Mona Lisa at all on the first photo we saw. But on the casting tape we suddenly saw the resemblance."
They add: "Regarding the smile. Mona Lisa’s smile is not only the world’s most famous smile, it’s also very, very subtle. It turned out to be very hard to copy in real life. But eventually she got it right."