The Man From Champagne
With sponsored mini-films becoming increasingly popular, it’s worth taking notice when one really works.
Our pick would be *The Key To Reserva*, a short for Friexe Champagne directed by Martin Scorcese and written by the typically meta-textual Ted Griffin, previously responsible for 2001’s *Ocean’s Eleven*. The short has been around for a while, but it didn’t get as much notice as it deserved, and it’s past due for another look.
As you might expect from his AmEx commercials, Scorcese steals the show by playing a slightly more jittery and nonsensical version of himself. As he explains to Griffin (also playing himself), he’s stumbled on three and a half pages of a lost Hitchcock movie called *The Key to Reserva*, and he’s planning of filming it as an act of film preservation. If you’ve ever wondered what three minutes of out-of-context suspense looks like, you’re about to find out.
As Scorcese in the prelude, he wants to make the movie as faithful to Hitchcock’s style as he can. “If he were alive now, making it now,” Scorcese muses, “he would make it the way he would have made it then.” By the time the actual movie starts, it’s an exercise in self-conscious pastiche, the kind of film buff’s inside joke that finds a perfect niche on the internet. The usual Hitchcock trademarks are all there if you’re looking for them—voyeurism, secrecy, tuxedo’d men wrestling awkwardly, paralyzed women—but it’s a very nuanced, very very inside joke, up until the last shot.
In other words, *Reserva* was never going to fill theater seats. Thankfully, there was a patron handy.
- — Russell Brandom