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Flight of the Panthard: New Cartier Film Is a 3.5 Minute Sprint Through History and Heritage

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Premiering in New York last night, Cartier’s short film “Odyssey of Cartier” attempted to recap the brand’s heritage and history with a lot of diamonds and even more CGI. Try to keep up as we summarize what we gleaned from the film: It opens at Rue de la Paix in Paris, where a diamond encrusted panthard*, comes to life, shakes off the precious stones, breaks through a glass ceiling, and runs through massive rolling rings straight into a race with a carriage pulled by three horses across Russian permafrost. That race turns into a face-off with a chimera (a.k.a. a dragon), which itself turns into the Great Wall of China, and then the Taj Mahal appears! And it’s perched on the back of a giant, mobile elephant!

Inside the Taj Mahal (on the back of an elephant), the panthard leads us through a Garden of Eden filled with every conceivable piece of the colorful Tutti Frutti collection. Then the panthard leaps off the elephant and onto a vintage aircraft, which takes its rider back to Paris, past some watches posing as clock towers, and, finally, to meet model Shalom Harlow. If you don’t believe us, see the gallery above. All this and more happens in three and a half minutes over an original score by an 84-piece orchestra and 60-person choir. It took two years, four locations, and three panthers (leopards) to shoot, plus six months of post-production editing. We think Cartier is trying to say something here.

That is, by creating a digital epic that could double as an extremely upscale science-fiction short, the brand is intent on bridging the gap between the Cartier brother’s history and heritage and the more, well, proletarian future of jewelry. Corinne Delattre, Cartier’s director of communication, told WWD, “Having this digital tool will allow us to start a conversation about the brand. People say digital is a risk, because it’s very democratic, but it also allows us to pursue that conversation and explain our craftsmanship to those people familiar with the more futile aspect of jewelry, who see it merely as a beautiful object.” The short will be televised on three networks this weekend, but no one at Cartier was able to tell us which ones (they're still getting used to this digital democracy thing). But don't worry, you can learn from the ways of the panthard yourself when "Odyssey of Cartier" arrives on YouTube next week.

*The Cartier emblem has been the panther since the 1930’s and Emmanuel Perrin, President and CEO of Cartier North America and the evening’s presenter, exclusively referred to the film’s star as a panther, but we're pretty sure it actually features a leopard, on account of all the spots. We’ll compromise and call it panthard. It sounds better than leoper.

UPDATE: Sources who know more about jungle cats than we do have informed us that "panther" is an umbrella term that does indeed include leopards.

· Cartier Ads To Hit The Screen [WWD]
· Diamond Legends Explained At The Premier Of Cartier's Debut Film [Racked NY]
· All Cartier Coverage [Racked]