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Robin Hicks gets an eyeful of some of the future talents of adland whose skills are being showcased by Saatchi & Saatchi at the Cannes ad festival this week.
Exactly a year ago today, a little-known French director named Laurent Bourdoiseau, with just three ads on his reel, was thrust into the limelight when a music video he'd made for the electropop band Air featured in Saatchi & Saatchi's New Directors' Showcase at Cannes.
Bourdoiseau's film, Electronic Performers, tells the story of a sound wave's journey through the human body. The wave, which appears as a tiny ball of light, races through corridors of nerve fibres and blackness, causing explosions of light as it collides with the alien-like structures in its path. It is, without meaning to detract from its obvious brilliance, a bit like watching Star Wars under a microscope on acid.
Less than a year later, Bourdoiseau is credited with directing one of the most unusual and daring car commercials for some time. Using the same trip-tastic techniques he used for the Air promo, he says he was given 'a carte blanche to tell the story of the journey of a brilliant idea'.
Unsurprisingly, the ad was commissioned by Saatchis. It was for the new Lexus SUV, the world's first 4X4 with a 'green' hybrid engine. The 90-second spot was produced by Independent Films.
'It took me three weeks to do the storyboard, and three months for production,' he says - a third of the time it took him to make Electronic Performers for Air. 'It's amazing how much faster you can work with professional people and more money.'
Bourdoiseau joins an illustrious list of directors who have, over the 15 years since the first showcase at the …