The Video Genius Of Chris Cunningham And Jonathan Glazer
26th January 2006 · Last updated: 5th October 2016
I ordered several cheaply priced DVDs recently in an online sale, including five compilations of work from outstanding video makers from the world of pop music, advertising and movies. I don't hesitate to use the word "outstanding", because each featured director is the source of many classic videos. When I saw the list on each DVD, I just had to order each one. Dozens of top bands and memorable videos are packed on each disc, so I knew the quality to expect. There are also interviews and commentaries, along with extra short films and other material.
I have no hesitation in calling what this group of directors produce as "art". These aren't your everyday MTV videos. These are ones that stick in your mind long afterwards, winning awards, or just being simply incredible to watch. I actually hate a lot of pop videos — I find a lot are bland, lacking in originality and technique, or edited so quickly that they become an annoying flash of imagery. So it was a joy to discover some of the new videos on these DVDs that I hadn't seen before, along with gems I knew already were great.
I haven't watched all of the discs yet (one is a double-sided DVD!) but I'm enjoying each one as I get to them. The first two I received in the post were the separate collections from directors Chris Cunningham and Jonathan Glazer. You may know Glazer from the classic movie Sexy Beast (no, it's not a porn flick, but a superb gangster movie, featuring Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley. If you haven't seen it, it's a must.) Here is a selection of screenshots from these two DVDs. See if you remember any of these videos or adverts.
Screenshots from the Jonathan Glazer DVD
- Menu 1 - showing the videos on the DVD
- Radiohead - Karma Police
- Screenshot 1 - a great video. This guy is being chased by a car...
- Screenshot 2 ...until he can't run any more. The car backs away...
- Screenshot 3 ...leaving a trail of leaked petrol. He drops a lit match...
- Screenshot 4 ...which starts a line of fire that goes right up to the car, engulfing it in flames. He wins.
- Radiohead - Street Spirit - band members cleverly move in and out of slow motion, even though others around them don't.
- UNKLE with Thom Yorke - Rabbit In Your Headlights
- Menu 2 - showing the list of commercials
- Levis: Kung Fu
- Levis: Odyssey
- Guinness: Surfer - horses. And surfers. And Leftfield. Powerfully combined.
- VW: Protection - what a great opening image
- Menu 3 - showing the movie trailers and interviews
- Menu 4 - showing the video interviews and commentaries
Screenshots from the Chris Cunningham DVD
- Menu 1 - showing the videos on the DVD
- Björk - All Is Full Of Love
- Screenshot 1
- Screenshot 2
- Screenshot 3
- Screenshot 4
- Screenshot 5
- Screenshot 6
- Screenshot 7
- Screenshot 8
- Screenshot 9
- Screenshot 10
- Screenshot 11
- Screenshot 12
- Screenshot 13 - sketches for the video
- Screenshot 14 - another sketch
- Screenshot 15 - showing how the 3D computer graphics took shape
- Screenshot 16 - even the logos were carefully designed
- Screenshot 17 - sketch for the main character
- Screenshot 18 - sketch for the set
- Screenshot 19 - this is Björk sat still, singing, before the computer graphics are added
- Screenshot 20 - she is adorable!
- Screenshot 21 - computer graphics work
- Screenshot 22 - more computer graphics work
- Screenshot 23 - and again
- Menu 2 - showing various other work
As you can see, I've included a lot of shots from Björk's video All Is Full Of Love. I'd seen it once before, and it was to be honest the main reason I got this DVD. It is to me, without question, a complete masterpiece. Created for a song remixed on a B-side(!), there was no pressure to meet a deadline or a single to market, so creativity came to the fore. I can't explain why, but I feel it's the perfect marriage of sound and vision. One of those rare times where the movement, graceful and futuristic, perfectly matches the music. It's quite short, but brilliantly made. Björk appears as a humanoid being constructed piece by piece by robotic welding machines you'd normally see in a car factory. I was surprised to find how much was computer generated. It's so well done that you can't tell. I totally love the music too — one of my all-time favourite Björk tracks for sure.
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