Find out why everyone is talking about the new Kenzo perfume commercial

Crazy eyes

Text: Renée Batchelor

Directed by Spike Jonze and starring up-and-coming actress Margaret Qualley, this wacky but thoroughly entertaining short film shatters fragrance ad convention and then some

It's not often a perfume ad makes you sit up and ask "What was that?". But trust Spike Jonze, the auteur (and sometime actor) who brought us Being John Malkovich and Her to take a quirky approach to making a fragrance short film. For starters, this film is titled My Mutant Brain. There's no languid shots of a woman wrapped in excess fabric, staring meaningfully into the distance or reciting trite words that don't make sense. Instead we get young Margaret Qualley of The Leftovers — who also happens to be the younger of actress Andie MacDowell's two daughters —  cutting loose, in a way we all wish we could, but never actually do.

Playing a socialite stuck in a stuffy 'do, Qualley escapes and literally runs amok among the plush, carpeted surroundings of a luxury hotel. Dressed in a gorgeous green Kenzo gown, she dances — or spasmodically moves if you prefer — to the primal beats of Mutant Brain, a track by the director's brother's band, Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums. Choreographed by Ryan Heffington, who also did Sia's Chandelier, kudos goes to Qualley's un-self conscious movements and facial expressions. The actress previously trained as a ballet dancer, and told Vogue that she knew her audition for the film either got her the part of would have left Jonze convinced she was crazy. We guess Jonze likes crazy. And if you're wondering about the enigmatic eye-shaped fragrance (a motif for the brand) that this film is plugging, it's called Kenzo World and was created by Francis Kurkdjian, no less.