Award-Winning Short Film Tells the Story of the Leica M-Monochrome’s ‘Soul’

It’s not often an ad gets recognized as a phenomenal piece of cinematography, but that’s what has happened for the short film ‘Alma’ (translated: “soul”) produced by Sentimental Filme for the release of the Leica M-Monochrome at the Leica Store in São Paulo.

Not associated with Leica Camera AG at all, ‘Soul’ picked up five awards at the Cannes Lions Festival — sort of like the Cannes International Film Festival only dedicated to advertising — bringing the total number of awards this short film has been given up to seventeen.


The film tells the story of a Leica III’s ‘soul.’ How it begins its life, finds its way into the hands of a great conflict photographer, survives many battles, and ultimately meets its untimely end at the hands of a landmine.

When it reincarnates, it comes back as the Leica M-Monochrome, and the tagline reads: the reincarnation of black and white.


In the Cannes Lions Festival’s craft category Soul earned the Golden Lion for Cinematography, the Silver Lion for Direction, and two Bronze Lions for Editing and Art Direction. In the much more competitive Film category, the ad took the Silver Lion in the Retail Stores segment.

“It is like a dream come true,” said Soul director Vellas. “Alma is a dense film, longer than traditional advertising, in black and white and, moreover, it does not have a happy ending. All these victories are very rewarding and we are very happy.”

(via Leica Rumors)

  • Nate Matos

    It should be noted that this is based off of Robert Capa, and it’s pretty clear about that (specifically where and how the photographer dies). Unfortunately Capa rarely used a Leica camera. As he was a much bigger fan of the Contax and Nikon rangefinders.

  • Stanco55

    Wow! Heck of a neat way to capitalize on the very life of someone who has no say in this “heroic” ad campaign! Leica has finally found a way to go well beyond the mortal confines of upping and maintaining their status based solely on the insane amount of money their products cost. They’re now sucking on the blood of the photographic undead…

  • Nate Matos

    FWIW this ad was NOT approved by Leica and they have gone through great lengths to distance themselves from it. It was produced independently by Leica Sao Polo Brazil.

  • Stanco55

    “Great lengths?” That means Leica has officially threatened to sue the makers outright- correct?

    Otherwise, that just means Leica can leisurely profit from this “independent” film while maintaining “plausible deniability” from any possible negative publicity.

  • Horst Wrabetz

    this is so wrong on so many levels.

    glorifying war and using a dead person to sell an overpriced luxury product. disgusting.

    but it’s a well crafted film nevertheless!

  • Derek

    Nauseating. Shameful. Leica SHOULD sue over this.

  • allthatjazz

    I believe Capa simply didnt have the money for a Leica…. I could be wrong tho

  • Sterling

    Seems pretty tasteless to me. But the advertising possibilities are endless for these award winning film makers. Imagine an ad for Hershey featuring a candy bar wrapper hanging out of a dead soldier’s pocket. Or maybe an ad for Coca-Cola showing a blood spattered can with a bullet hole through it. Or how about a soldier’s Levi’s languishing at home while their owner lays dead in a ditch somewhere.

  • hessu

    I was just about to say the same, Capa used Contax and Rollei, not Leica. I believe Contax was his all time favorite, and also the brand that captured the WW2.

  • hessu

    On a sidenote, I think Bresson and Capa would have hated this ad. Capa did not like the war, he went on great lengths discussing about it, and he never was faithful to any camerabrand. For anyone who knows history, this shortfilm is just a disgrace, and in a few ways hurtfull to the legacy of Capa.

  • Hank Carter

    Capa switched to Contax sometime during the Spanish Civil War in the mid to late 1930’s. He owned a Leica LTM prior to that, which was recently auctioned off by Westlicht . He also shot Rollei 6×6. There are even are a few post war shots of him with a Linhof 4×5. In the early 1950’s he went on assignment to Japan and was given several Nikon outfits. Capa died while shooting a Nikon in Vietnam. He was the first photojournalist to be killed in that conflict.

  • Alan Dove

    Waah, Capa didn’t use a Leica. Waah, I can’t afford one. Waah, Leica should sue.

    How about just appreciating this as a brilliantly filmed, semi-fictional short film? Because that’s what it is.

  • Graf Almassy

    “On May 25, 1954 at 2:55 p.m., the regiment was passing through a
    dangerous area under fire when Capa decided to leave his Jeep and go up
    the road to photograph the advance. About five minutes later, Mecklin
    and Lucas heard an explosion; Capa had stepped on a landmine.”

    This is the true story about Capa’s death. This short movie (ad) is based on fiction, not Capa’s life and death.

  • Pablo

    Because like most ads, it is a con game. Most people don’t like being conned and will rip on every little detail of the con.

  • keru

    Yes of course, sue everything, kill everyone, art sux.

    (ps: i own a Leica M Monochrom and i love it)

  • Stanco55

    I can certainly appreciate it as a brilliantly filmed commercial based on a seemingly erroneous premise, a brilliantly filmed advert exploiting the life and death of a photographic icon.

    Because that’s what it is.

  • Stanco55

    “art sux”

    Yes, apparently. Especially when overblown commercials get mistaken for such.

    Glad you love your Monochrom M- the direct spiritual descendant of Mr. Capa’s fabled Contax, I mean Nikon, I mean Rolleiflex…

  • James

    Shame on you guys. Bullshitting wether Leica should sue them or not. This commercial is brilliant, telling the story of a war photographer from the camera’s perspective as if it’s married to the photographer.

    You people should stop looking at stuff as if we are a lawyers.

  • Daniel Lames Grant

    Just gently, I think the voice-over is from the point of view of the camera itself, as a character.

    When it says “I was born in Wetzlar, Germany,” it means where the camera was born. Wetzlar is where the Leica III was designed.

    This does seem to be in pretty poor taste. But it mentions no names and isn’t hurting anyone. Who cares?

  • Henry

    “Nice, BUT a historical mistake “when the sound of the Kalashnikovs became unbearable… he stopped”. Kalashnikovs only came into service in 1949. Capa already stopped war photography by then and was working on Russia Journal, Irwin Shaw’s book on Israel and the formation of Magnum. The only time he would of seen Kalashnikovs in war would be in Indochina. The North Vietnamese was supplied with Chinese AK47 for the battle of Dien Bien Phu in March- May 1954. This is well after he went back to war.

    Capa was using Contax II and Nikon S when he died. He didn’t use a Leica since the Spanish civil war. All D-Day pictures were taken with a Contax. Trying to sell someone’s soul, at least get your facts right.”