Monday, March 27, 2006

Video of the week: Imitation Of Life

REMNot only is this REM's last truly great single, it's also my favourite REM video (and there are plenty to choose from).

The film, set at a rather posh poolside barbeque, only lasts 20 seconds - looped backwards and forwards over and over for the duration of the song. It sounds like one of those awful Polish cartoons Channel 4 used to show late at night after Hill Street Blues - but it's actually an incredibly intricate and memorable piece of film. You'd see it in art galleries if art galleries actually had galleries of art instead of piles of bricks or plastercasts of syphilitic dogs, or whatever.

That's not to say the clip can withstand the following 'decontruction' of its 'motives' I came across in the New York Press: It identifies the decrepitude of modern vision, infiltrates the tv habits that are sanctioned by swindles like Dogma 95 and the acceptance of rank video imagery and then pushes forward.

No it doesn't, it's just a music video.

A music video that must have been a bitch to pull off, mind you. How did they make sure all the cast were lip-syncing the right line, when they were all filmed at the same time? Thinking about it makes my brain hurt.

And although this sort of visual trickery is usually the domain of Michel Gondry (think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) the clip was actually directed by Garth Jennings, who was also responsible for the Supergrass video I featured a couple of weeks ago.

The greatest thing since bread came sliced.

  • Buy REM's Greatest Hits on DVD
  • More on the video at Wikipedia
  • Unbelievably pretentious review in the NY Press

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