August 18, 2009

Treat Me Like Your Mother

I saw this video last night, when I got home (title of the song is "Treat Me Like Your Mother" by Dead Weather). Just by coincidence. My son Max had been watching some MTV spin off channel. God, I haven´t watched any music videos in ages. Watching the newest and coolest used to be part of my job. But well, for two years now, its no longer part of my job description and have so many other things to research and catch up on.

Ok - so I sat and watched this. The lyrics and the visuals just put me in a state of hypnosis. Actually, the video itself pretty disturbing. A man and a woman, in a kind of dueling situation, both armed with automatic weapons, start shooting each other. So maybe not everyone's cup of tea, as it were.

A metaphor for how words flung at each other can do irreparable damage.

You blink when you breathe and you breathe when you lie
You blink when you lie
Who’s got it figured out, play straight

Anyways - so I look it up on youtube. Who do I discover directed this?? Jonathan Glazer! Me, sling-shot-whizz-whoosh-catapult back in time to 1996, when I first encountered this guy's work. In the we-are-all-awesome-advertising industry, Jonathan Glazer was, like, Apollo, God of Sun and light and poetry and just the arts in general. Leader of the Muses. Top of Mount Olympus (or where ever it was that he lived......the Acropolis? Think that might have been Zeus ) And to a certain extent still is, although he has seriously reduced the amount of ads he does. In fact, he never did a whole lot, choosing his projects with guarded care.

Seriously, his ads back in the late 90's and early 2000's are to this day legendary. For me, works of art. I always thought, and still do, think sensational ads belong up there in the realm of lofty recognition. Ok, so I worked in the industry. But still - judge for yourself......... Nike Frozen Moments, Levis Odyssey, Stella Artois, Guinness........several ads under his direction have won the equivalent of the Oscars - the Cannes Gold Lion. EVERYone wanted him to direct their ads. Often, excruciating for us producers, as both clients&creatives requested us to approach his production company with the crappiest shit ever (see, the theory was - no matter how awful the script, or the product, Glazer could turn it into gold.) Fortunately, for him, he really just cherry-picked. As all Olympus-inhabiting directors do......or rather.......should do.

Anyone who has ever worked in advertising will know this guy. Movie fans might know his "Sexy Beast" feature film debut (think Guy Ritchie gangsta but way cooler) Plus Glazer has directed some of the best music videos ever - like Virtual Insanity for Jamiroquai, The Universal for Blur, Rabbit in Your Headlights for UNKLE - to name a few. His body of work a constant continuum of stepping beyond the parameters of conventional ad/promo/film making. Using effects not for the sake of it, but for the total impact of the work as a whole. And he always choose the coolest music. Unfortunately, not all of his personal music choices made it onto the final versions of the ads. You know.....clients.

And I just find it remarkable that the one promo I have watched in.....like.....years.....is from him. Small consolation: can still detect something good when I see it.

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