The best videos this week are mind- (and pixel-) bending clips from !!! and Nite Jewel, sexy videos from MEN and Robyn, a Halloween-themed massacre from La Sera, and a glossy, District 9-esque thriller shot on location in India from You Say Party. It takes a lot to keep people watching the whole three minutes, so I appreciate all the smart ways directors and bands keep your attention here. Because there are plenty of not smart (though kind of clever) ways they could have kept your attention. For example (NSFW):
…And now, here are the best, most watchable videos out this week.
!!! – “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass” (Dir. Saman Keshavarz)
On his website, 24-year-old director Saman Keshavarz calls this video shoot “very stressful but rewarding.” I emailed him to ask why: “We had two weeks to complete everything and it was probably the most painful experience ever, but it was a learning experience for me. The only other larger projects I did, I had a much longer amount of preparation time, whereas this [had to be] done in an unrealistic time. But we were able to pull magic out of our butts.”
Hjaltalín – “Sweet Impressions” (Dir. Arni Thor Jonsson)
Nite Jewel – “We Want Our Things” (Dir. Ola Vasiljeva)
Artist and video director Ola Vasiljeva says the melting, undulating video effect here is “nothing too complicated,” though the result is hypnotic. The video was produced by Tax Fonds, a group that funds video projects between musicians and artists. The clothing and necklace were created by legendary member of The Cockettes Bill Bowers, who also appears in the video. Ramona Gonzalez’s unusual hat? It’s a slab of seaweed that Vasiljeva grabbed out of the ocean during the shoot.
You Say Party – “Lonely’s Lunch” (Dir. Sean Wainsteim)
Sean Wainsteim’s director statement on this video says it came from, first, the band being “… interested in opening up their videos to artistic collaborations — letting filmmakers freely explore a visual pairing to accompany their musical narrative.” The inspiration? “Firstly, I wanted to create a piece that reflected the discomfort associated when an armed police force casually (in some cases) occupies an urban center (found in London, Tel Aviv or my own Toronto during the recent G20 summit). Secondly, I wanted to collaborate with Shanker Raman, an Indian cinematographer I had worked with a decade ago and kept in touch with as he moved on to features.” The foreignness (and, at the same time, familiarity) of what happens in this video make it very watchable, and a little scary.
As mentioned, this video was created by Taiwanese production house NMA, who do those bizarre computer animations to illustrate big news stories. They recently did one animating Jon Stewart’s upcoming Rally To Restore Sanity.
Director Bryce Kass says he was “literally laughing out loud” when he heard “Off Our Backs,” an innocent-sounding pop song packed with unapologetic sexuality. That giddiness crossed over to the video as well. “I don’t know if we ever consciously thought about it, but in a way this video is sending a message that it’s okay to be yourself, to love and fuck the way you want to, to express yourself the way you want to and to not back away from yourself, from the person you really are, deep down inside,” he writes. “So that’s why I wanted it to look really bright and really sunny and really exposed — it’s a pop trope yeah — but it’s also a way to visually communicate fearlessness. Maybe it’s rough out there right now, and especially rough for young gays, but shit yeah, it does get better. Let’s show ‘em how much better.”