As their new DS4 is rolled out, DS creatively turn to award winning author Joel Dicker to craft a more off-beat and stylish short film to mark the car’s release
Article by Kate Slotover and Rupert Watkins
French manufacturer DS have long been associated with innovation. Back in the day the original DS was technologically years ahead of its time with a hydraulic self-levelling suspension system and hydraulic brakes matched with an effortlessly French sense of style and design. Now, to mark the launch of two new models, the DS4 and DS4 Crossback, they have hired Joël Dicker, author of The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, to star in an unusual launch campaign.
Now the name Joël Dicker may not be particularly familiar to you, but let me assure you that in France (and indeed his native Switzerland) he is a huge deal. His novel was first published in 2012 and went on to be a bestseller, winning him two major literary awards in France. The rights were fought over at the Frankfurt book fair and it went on to be translated into 32 languages. In Europe it reportedly knocked sales of Dan Brown’s Inferno off the top of the charts. In May of last year it was released in the UK and duly made the Sunday Times bestseller list. He is young, good looking, a publishing sensation and seemingly a lovely guy (Riddle, when we met him, found him to be polite, unassuming and thoroughly charming). Who better, then, to drive their car around and compose short story via the new in-car dictation system DS have developed?
And thus Dicker has produced For Insiders Only, a mystery thriller involving an off-duty policeman, a man drowning in the Seine, a trail of corpses, and considerable amount of driving. Bringing the experience of his writing process to life DS have made a series of five films available to watch online, each one a teaser of sorts for the accompanying book. ‘There is an unlimited source of inspiration outside, down the roads,’ Dicker tells us in the voiceover, ‘You just have to know how to look.’ Beautifully shot, DS invited Joel to write and direct the films, as well as starring in them, a dream project for someone who confesses he’s always had ‘a childish dream’ to be an actor. The films follow Dicker as he seeks inspiration on a journey across Europe. It is a curious blend of real life and the process of making art that’s actually pretty appropriate for someone who wrote a book about a young author who wrote a book that became a publishing sensation, and then went on to become one himself. Like Dicker’s novel, it’s a little bit meta.
Comparisons have been made to Stieg Larsson, Swedish creator of the memorably fierce Lisbeth Salander, girl with the dragon tattoo. Dicker, also, has the ability to create vivid characters that leap effortlessly off the page, and For Insiders Only does the job with élan. The films are available to watch online and if you want a copy of the book for yourself then test driving the car is the way to get one.