Mark Romanek

This video is by Hillman Curtis. He's done a lot of short documentary's on artists. Others featureLawrence Weiner, Milton Glaser and David Carson. All of them are very good and I highly recommend checking out the rest of the work on his site.

But this post isn't actually about Hillman Curtis, it's about Mark Romanek.

There are many things that can make a music video bad. Poor concept, lame song or boring direction are common causes. The conceptual freedom that one has when creating a music video can be both its greatest strength and biggest weakness.

This is where he shines.

Romanek's video for 99 Problems by Jay-Z is relatively simple. It's Jay-Z rapping into the camera with scenes of prison & ghetto life interspersed between.

The video I've just described could easily suck.

But because of the photography, direction and overall tone it doesn't. It's a dramatic, interesting and beautiful interpretation of Jay-Z's work, a video worthy of the song.

Little Trouble Girl by Sonic Youth is somewhat more conceptual, but the visual of the alien-like girl exploring an empty office building is still somewhat grounded.

My favorite shot from this video is the chair as a light is turned on. The light streams across the leather. It's golden.

Can't Stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is on the far side of the conceptual scale. Some could describe it as random* but I prefer the term spontaneous.

Featuring florescent backpacks, an packing peanut/guitar orgy and a luminescent dance, the video for Can't Stop is bright, visually appealing and weird in all the best ways.

For a documentary, commentary & to own these and more music videos you can buy Director's Series Vol. 4 - Work of Director Mark Romanek from Amazon.com.

*Because of the negative (read: stupid) connotations with the word random.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like 99 Problems, but Can't Stop is one of the best things ever. I don't know, it's way good though.