What a film. I had really enjoyed it at a students-only screening put on by Marbles in Toronto some months back. I never commented because Sundance was done and I figured with most of these smaller indie flicks, readers wouldn’t be able to find it.
I was probably right, but I’ll say a few things anyway.
I snuck into despite not actually being a ‘student’ of that unholy capitalist trinity of PR/Advertising/Marketing (unless you count autodidacts), and this film, while not necessarily ‘changing my life’, did reaffirm my commitment to be in advertising. It’s a wonderful, glorious profession that can be difficult, can be dirty and nasty and ignominious, but is nonetheless outweighed by the impact it can have.
For any aspiring creative seeking to make their skills useful, to effect change with their art, and to get maximum exposure for their work and not their egos, there has never been a better career. This is true also because all artists have been advertisers. The Old Masters, like Handel or Bach, Bernini or Da Vinci, Shakespeare or Marlowe, just shilled for different clients, like the Church, the Monarchy or wealthy merchants. Still, advertising for a time was considered the domain of ‘failed’ artists, which isn’t necessarily true. After all, there are wall-painters and then there are Michelangelos. Billboard painters, package designers, and Alphonse Mucha. Fops and Beau Brummell. Poseurs and Andy Warhol… you get my drift. The point is that art and advertising are inextricably intertwined and hacks and true artists exist in both professions.
Art & Copy is a film about some of the people, who made this abundantly clear. It is also, despite his being dead, a film about the legacy and debt this whole industry owes to one man: Bill Bernbach.
PS: It has occurred to me that I’ve actually written very little about the movie itself. I’m recovering from vacation, but if you want to get a glimpse of the movie from people saying what I would were I not exhausted go below:
While you’re at it, check out 9 ways to improve an ad:
And stuff that’s likely to end up on the film’s DVD:
And lastly, a trailer: