France has a law against depicting smoking in advertising — so to avoid prosecution, the company that sells ads on Parisian public transportation banned a poster featuring Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel holding a cigarette.
Never mind that Chanel herself smoked up to 50 clopes a day. The company, Metrobus, demanded that the poster above be replaced with this more anodyne shot of Tautou and the male lead, Alessandro Nivola.
Metrobus also airbrushed a film still of legendary French comedian Jacques Tati in Mon Oncle, which originally featured Tati smoking a pipe while riding a bicycle. (The still serves as a poster for a Tati retrospective, currently open, at the Cinémathèque Française.) In the new version of the poster, Tati holds a yellow windmill between his lips.
France's current health minister thinks the poster bans and airbrushings are absurd. So too does Claude Evin, the former health minister responsible for the anti-tobacco advertising law in the first place.
Either way, it makes for some pretty fantastic publicity for Coco Avant Chanel, which opens abroad today.
Whiff Of Kafka To Coco Chanel Smoking Poster Ban [Telegraph]