Monday, May 23, 2016
New to the collection: rare car commercials from great filmmakers
Occasionally, we get an unusual item in the collection that we just have to share with everyone. Sometimes it's just an oddity like Executive Koala (HU DVD 8910), but this time we have a special, unusual DVD with a place in film history.
In 2001, BMW commissioned The Hire, an anthology of eight 10-minute short films starring Clive Owen about the driving features of their cars. They were among the earliest successful branded web video content – and make no mistake, they're commercials.
What makes them special is that each film was directed by arguably one of the greatest film talents working at the time. Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo, and others all participated; the names BMW attracted were astounding.
The high profile is also one of the reasons you can't watch them anymore: The Hire was extremely expensive, and BMW opted not to continue hosting the videos. Very few DVD copies exist, and some versions omit one of the films because of a contract stipulation from Forest Whitaker. We got our hands on one of the complete promotional DVDs (DVD 13108), so the AU community will always have access to these lost works by great filmmakers.