DIRECTOR VS. PRODUCER – THE JULY EDITION
This month we have two one-of-a-kinders both of whom have changed the game in their own way. Don’t sleep on either of these two for a second… The original globetrotter Ian Pons Jewell with the global-reaching Luti Fagbenle. We got to hear Ian and Luti’s thoughts on July’s most talked about music videos from Rihanna’s ‘BBHMM’ to Lorn’s ‘Acid Rain’. Shots fired!! Artistry respected. It’s all good. Opinions are personal. Honesty is key.
RIHANNA ‘BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY’ directed by MEGAFORCE
Ian Pons Jewell LOVE the track and the video is BIG and beautifully shot. Goes so well with the music, though there’s something that doesn’t quite connect for me. I actually feel it could and should have been more sinister. I would have liked to see a more solid narrative core for Rihanna’s character to be motivated from, it feels a bit too surface. But, I would also be interested to see what Megaforce’s original vision was, as I have heard stories about the working process with Rihanna, which must have been quite a task. In short, I’m a big Megaforce fan, but don’t feel this quite has their fingerprint on it. But for a Pop video, it’s amazing and perhaps I’m holding them up to much to their own very high standards. I wonder what the budget was? No wonder Rihanna is so desperate for more money!
Luti Fagbenle No UK label would ever let you shoot video like this for a pop artist. I love the fact that Rihanna can break the rules, and be unashamedly violent and explicit. This video is sick! You can’t go wrong when you start off with a beautiful voluptuous blonde wearing a see through bra at the start of your video can you? But more than anything I love the casting of Rihanna’s friends, as they just weren’t the conventional hot homegirls. The story line is twisted sexy and gangsta all at the same time. This is definitely one of Rihanna’s most interesting videos, great acting…immense shots. One of my favourite shots is the one near the pool, where the camera tracks down from the cop to a well framed shot of Rihanna’s body and her hostage hidden underwater. I love videos, where they give you more than just a music video; it’s a short film. Although its intentionally controversial it doesn’t feel totally contrived. 5*
NICOLAS GODIN ‘WIDERSTEHE DOCH DER SÜNDE’ directed by SACRED EGG
Luti Fagbenle Zombies surfing. I wonder if that was literally the treatment. Brilliant. It’s one of those ideas, which is only good if the execution is good. You can’t just say oh surfing zombies and think brilliant…you have to be able to execute it well. They made it artistic, however, a little slow. Don’t get me wrong, the cinematography is amazing and I think it’s quite beautiful as a piece, but for some reason I don’t either get thrilled by the comedy of it or the action of it. I think its because I was hoping to see more of a conclusion or story to what was a really intriguing visual.
Ian Pons Jewell It’s really interesting to comment on this, as it was something I’d pitched on. I wrote a script I adored for it, over the course of a month, so the visual I personally envisaged is seared into my mind during what was quite a long writing process. Meaning that I actually can’t sit through it all without experiencing emotional pain akin to watching your loved one making out with someone else. It looks beautiful, amazing cinematography, and I love Sacred Egg, but I have a history with the track so can’t really watch it objectively! God I sound like a HUGE pussy.
KENDRICK LAMAR ‘ALRIGHT’ directed by COLIN TILLEY
Ian Pons Jewell BEAUTIFUL. Love this so much, one of my favourites this year. Incredible music with an incredible video.
Luti Fagbenle This is not only Colin Tilley’s best work…but it’s the best hip hop music video I think I’ve seen in the last 10 years, period. It is a visual feast. It is poetic and the execution is insane. I have worked with a lot of the guys who made this video including Colin and Rob Witt the DP and I’m so blown away with what they did on this. To be honest I am not surprised, because they are incredibly talented people. I think it is amazing when an artist and production can get together and actually make something unique and special together and that starts with the opening soundscape which Kendrick made specifically for the video. One of my favourite moments in the video is at 1 minute 33, the shot where the guy is slammed against the ground and the camera rotates and it’s revealed that it’s actually a wall. He then runs off and the camera moves in onto the police officer who pulls out his gun, and all in one beautiful movement it goes on to an extreme close up of the gun firing in slow motion with visual effects. Just insane. The sound really makes this video come to life. This was just an incredible moment. Colin is a cutaway killer and I love the abstract and literal ways he has illustrated the spoken word lyrics.
In fact this might be one of the best hip-hop music videos of all time. It has a social message too at a very poignant time with the wave of police brutality that has been given much needed spotlight. People can draw their own conclusions from what the message or result of this video is, but for me it dramatically highlights the disgusting situation of racism and police brutality in America. Big up Tilley!
AZEL PHARA ‘GREEN’ directed by BIF
Luti Fagbenle Loved this video. A real visual spectacle in Technicolor. The animation is brilliantly clever. What started out just looking like a pretty simple tracing effect builds and builds. Good music videos always have progression and even though this kind of feels like one setup, this video keeps evolving with more and more complex particle interactions and elements to the chase and kept me glued to the screen. I also like the fact that the video became slightly trippy towards the end and kept me wanting to watch more. The only issue was that I didn’t fully understand the story. What happened to the other men running away? Were the planes trying to destroy the tanks or the running man? But I guess…who cares. It still looked cool as f***.
Ian Pons Jewell
So great to see a new BIF video! Their short Dix blew me away when I saw it some years back. Really amazing technique and visual idea in this, though not my usual cup of tea, I REALLY liked this. Really hope to see more BIF going forward!
LORN ‘ACID RAIN’ directed by JULIAN FLORES / PAVEL BRENNER / SHERIF ALABEDE
Ian Pons Jewell Liked this, had essences of Hiro Murai’s vid for Chet Faker, and a bit of Flying Lotus vibes too what with him having a few vids that are about the soul’s journey from the scene of death… I don’t think I liked it as much as other people seem to, but I’m a stickler for rich narrative. It didn’t need the “reveal” at the end, I got it from the start, so the reveal felt a bit defunct. Beautiful cinematography!
Luti Fagbenle Very challenging video. To be honest, I think it was great. The concept and the way it was shot were both really good, however, I found it very frustrating that the timing of the chorography is off throughout. Even though it was shot in slow motion, each move could have hit the beat which would have made the choreography more impactful. This is something extremely important, especially when the video is based upon choreography. Like I said, I love the slightly trippy concept and how it was shot but a bit more attention onto the above details and this video would have been a lot more powerful!