I note with alarm that it has been precisely a year since my last post on this blog. A sad state of affairs, but it’s fitting that I make my return with another post on the same series as the last post I made: Nathaniel Rogers’ ever-wonderful Hit Me With Your Best Shot at The Film Experience. I can hardly pretend I don’t have time to watch five music videos – which is what the series is covering this week, taking a look at the five nominees for Best Cinematography at the VMAs.
I present my choices for Best Shot from the five, in order of how much I liked the videos – which was, on the whole, not that much.
Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – Never Catch Me (dp. Larkin Sieple)
Easily the most stirring video, both visually and thematically. The dramatic lighting of a church is always bound to provide striking shots, but my choice is this one – the moment the apparent corpses announce themselves to the room as still living and breathing – as it stirs so many feelings about modern society without overstating its allegorical possibilities even in the slightest.
FKA twigs – Two Weeks (dp. Justin Brown)
This video is beautiful but it is all the best shot in itself, so picking a frame from it is a challenge. My choice for best shot demonstrates the beautiful synchronicity of music and image, and announces the breadth of the scene around a thus-far isolated twigs as a dancer raises her hands to the crash of the chorus’ beginning.
alt-J – Left Hand Free (dp. Mike Simpson)
A rather generic ‘youth on film’ video, but I loved this moment of intrigue, playfulness and the sexual tease in her blackened eyes.
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar – Bad Blood (dp. Christopher Probst)
Swift is essentially channelling a film trailer here, and with all the worst Hollywood tendencies of crude special effects, a corporate sheen and a gratuitous all-star cast. Despite the text slapped across this image, I couldn’t resist choosing it for two reasons: one, it’s a great composition, a flawless body on a ruined canvas; and two, it exemplifies the basic plasticity of the video’s concept, and the imperviousness of Taylor’s constructed image.
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud (dp. Daniel Pearl)
A rather dry video which visually uses a whole lot of clichés, and only seems beautiful in a very straightforward sense. But I like the humour in this shot – the choreography, certainly, can be applauded.
Don’t forget to check out the other entries back at The Film Experience!