Monday, November 11, 2013

Fairy Tale Magic Unveiled in Paris: Peeks At "La Belle et La Bête" First Footage (& More) Through Christmas Windows (C'est Magnifique!)

A few days ago, window shoppers in Paris were treated to the unveiling of Galeries Lafayette Haussmann's highly anticipated 2013 Christmas windows, with Lea Seydoux (who plays Beauty in La Belle et La Bête) handling the official launch-n-lighting honors.

It's so stunning and magical, no other Christmas or fairy tale film has a chance of getting noticed in Paris at the moment! I've always maintained magic takes work, and there's no doubt this project had more than it's fair share, but the resulting magic here is real: whomever sees this in person will remember this their entire lives.

There is something very special about beautiful Christmas windows. They're a form of storytelling and theater all by themselves and should be recognized for how much they enrich and effect people's lives. Very often fairy tales emerge from books and sit on the edge of reality, drawing passers by out of their day-today worries and transporting them, despite themselves, into magical worlds, making a season of their lives special and beautiful. I still remember the windows I've seen, especially when I was a child. It's a unique sort of magic and isn't as widespread as it once was, which is a real shame. Kudos to all those visual merchandisers out there who go beyond displaying goods for sale to make magic. We salute you.

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann are known for their breathtaking Christmas constructions, and this year, Beauty and the Beast takes center stage, with animated roses revealing glimpses of the first footage from Gan's Beauty and the Beast. Passers by are able to "brush the roses aside" with their fingers touching the glass so the flowers move to show them sneak peeks of the film. Magical!
✒  ✒   (click the "Read more" link below this line for lots more photos & first B&tB footage ) ✒ ✒ ✒   

Here's the press release (auto-translated from French so it reads a little strangely. I've adjusted the worst of it so you get the idea):
Gans' film inspired a preview at the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann.The " Once Upon a Time Christmas ", Galeries Lafayette could not miss the film event of the 2014 winter; a film directed by Christophe Gans with Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux: Beauty and the Beast. 

To celebrate this extraordinary film, Galeries Lafayette dedicated the windows of the Rue de la Chaussee d'Antin Lafayette House to it , in which viewers can penetrate deeper into the 
elegant and mysterious world, and amazing storytelling. 
Five tables show the sets of the film: a wonderful interactive showcase will reveal the mysterious realm of the Beast, the majestic hall of the castle of the Beast in majestic staircase, the grand dining room, and finally the bedroom of the Belle. The Lafayette House reserves, too, a window to the dining room of the Beast.
The store at Centennial Dome now hosts an amazing 4th floor theater, immersing viewers in the setting of Beauty and the Beast , where an exclusive 5-minute installation presents the first images from the film ... to stir up our curiosity for February 12, 2014, the date of the national release of the film.Please note that the Beast could visiting his castle and make a surprise appearance at the turn of the Galeries Lafayette for " Once Upon a Time Christmas "...

There are other mechanically animated displays, as per the Christmas tradition of window storytelling all over the world (hear that LA?), and these are charming too - complete with little doll-like fairies and creatures making magic.

 Here's a description of the "Il Etait Une Fois..." Christmas windows (again auto-translated & adjusted slightly):
Galeries Lafayette tell their tale "Once Upon a Time Christmas" . Twelve windows feeriques (fairies) tell thestory of the twelve strokes before midnight and the history of doll and bear Lilly Martin: the two friends travel a path of discovery sown up the cabin of Mr. and Mrs. Wolf in the woods, where they share the feast of Christmas and opening presents under the tree. At the heart of their journey, they encounter a whole bestiary of entertaining characters: hourglasses giants, black cats, pet jewelry, mobile clocks monkeys topper guardians of time...

... In the center of the store, stands a giant tree stands at 20 meters high with a width of 4 meters. At the foot of the tree are a small village display with mice, owls, and Lily Martin, Mr. and Mrs. Wolf ... The oversized dials and gear mechanisms giants are also suspended, a giant hint that the Christmas celebrationthis year is sponsored by the company Swatch , creator of original and inventive watches since 30 years.
It's hard to beat the Beauty and the Beast presentations, though. Even without the footage and animated roses, the windows are gorgeous, magnificent. And then you have the opportunity to go see five minutes of fairy tale footage in a specially made theater, which I think is what the picture is from below.
I believe this is the specially constructed theater! Can you imagine watching the whole movie in this setting? *swoon*
That's one way to boost the shopping experience!

It also doesn't hurt to make the film into a whole experience that lives well beyond going to see the movie itself either. I have no doubt (director) Gans has just gotten himself a new set of fans who can't wait until the movie premieres! What's very interesting about this form of presentation/marketing is that, unlike the merchandising and hype we experience for Disney films, aimed at children to promote a franchise, this is just for this film and this fairy tale. The uniqueness of it affecting the physical surroundings in a city will help it stand out and be remembered by all types and ages, because people are "walking into the fairy tale" even before going to see it. Fairy tales resonate with people anyway, so they're already a step ahead in keeping the new film true to that tradition and feel. But it's also tied into the rest of the magical Christmas experience there, complete with music, lights and more, so Gans has just cemented a fond place in the hearts of people of all ages. Very savvy.

And I couldn't be more pleased that it happened via Beauty and the Beast.

By the way, if you'd like a closer/longer look at the glimpses of footage you see in the videos below, someone already made gifs out of them. Since the repeated images can be a little hard on the eyes at times, rather than embed them here in this post, I've put them on the Once Upon A Blog Tumblr HERE in case you'd like to see them.

Here are a couple of videos from the unveiling & lighting ceremony. Almost all the stuff you want to see is in the first minute or two of each video.

The windows will remain on display until New Years. Anyone have a ticket from LA to Paris they can't use before December 31st?

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