Marion Cotillard will star as Coco Chanel in “Rencontre(s),” an immersive, interactive, and multi-sensorial project that whisks participants back to Paris of the Roaring Twenties. Making its world premiere as part of the Venice Film Festival’s recently rebranded Venice Immersive showcase for new-media projects, the pop-history experience mixes live elements with 2D animation and XR embellishments to retrace the creation of Chanel No 5. Variety debuts the teaser here (below).
Commissioned by Chanel and produced by Paris-based studio Atelier Daruma, the 15-minute immersive experience puts participants into the shoes of Ernest Beaux, the Russo-French perfumer who created the iconic elixir for the fashion icon. Voicing an animated version of Coco Chanel in both English and French, the Oscar-winning actress plays the designer at the height of her Queen of Paris fame, as a 38-year-old doyenne and magnetic pole for the city’s modernist and avant-garde scenes.
“Marion did an incredible job visualizing, designing and embodying this voice, bringing a mysterious mix of strength and playfulness,” says project director and Atelier Daruma founder Mathias Chelebourg. “This was one of the most fascinating times to be alive in Paris and I’m convinced her Oscar-winning performance in ‘La Vie en Rose’ had given her an opportunity to develop a deep personal [connection] with the avant-garde artistic period.”
“We all felt incredibly lucky to have her on board our adventure and were astonished by how natural the match sounded,” Chelebourg continues. “Now, when I close my eyes and picture Paris in 1921, I have Marion in my ears.”
The 15-minute immersive installation will move participants across live sets, incorporating interactive VR animation alongside haptic – that is, relating to touch – and other sense-based elements, reflecting Venice Immersive’s growing ambition for “multi-layered virtual experiences.”
“We want to fully express the whole range of XR projects,” says Venice Immersive curator Liz Rosenthal. “This installation project goes beyond just putting on a headset; there are haptic experiences and things you can actually see outside.”
“There are smells as well,” adds Rosenthal. “It’s a whole hybrid installation incorporating scent and touch, of which Mathias is a master.”
“It’s also a very interesting example of how a brand as powerful as Chanel is looking into immersive media,” says curator Michel Reilhac. “In this case they basically commissioned Mathias to come up with a piece relevant to their own history – a piece that’s narrative and not promotional, and that tells the story of a very meaningful symbol of our time. So it’s a very interesting collaboration between an artist and a brand.”