Each year the Los Angeles Film Festival features a program they have titled ‘Eclectic Mix’ which brings together a number of music videos (remember those?) that span style, artists and countries and act almost as a shorts program, with a really good soundtrack (and all on the big screen!) This year marked my third time attending the program for what may have been its strongest showing yet. The theater was notably packed and watching videos from France, Japan, Canada and the United States was not only interesting, it was a lot of fun.
I have rounded up my top 8 videos out of the mix that combined great music with interesting or funny narratives and visuals that prove music videos may be a dying medium (“I want my MTV”), but it certainly should not be a forgotten one.
8. “The Greeks” by Is Tropical, France (Directed by Megaforce)
Remember when you were a kid playing war with your fake guns running around “shooting” each other? Megaforce takes you back to those days, but adds the visuals you and your friends were probably imagining in this fun and silly video for Is Tropical’s infectious sound. (But maybe don’t pretend to be drug lords, kids)
7. “Abducted” by Cults, USA (Directed by David Altobelli)
Nothing is as it seems in this video, which rewinds us backwards, and then shoots us forward again. Altobelli’s stark visuals keeping time with Cults’ sudden pacing (and volume) change. Want a video that will take your breath away? Wait until about 1:16 in.
6. “Control” by Spoek Mathambo, South Africa (Directed by: Pieter Hugo)
Taking full advantage of the medium of black and white, Hugo creates stunning visuals as his subjects jerk around to Mathambo’s electro beats. The world may not be black and white, but this video makes me wish it were.
5. “Shady Love” by Scissor Sisters vs Krystal Pepsy, USA (Directed by: Hiro Murai)
Scissor Sisters are not a band you would expect to hear at an elementary school play and it is that idea of juxtaposing the slightly racy song with innocent children that makes this video hilarious and captivating as each kid mouths lyrics like, “Let me feel all of her boobies” and “We fly cuz the nips don’t slip.” Plus the production value of this elementary school’s production rivals that of fictional high schools like Glee and High School Musical, but in a slightly more realistic sense.
4. “It” by Rich Aucoin, Canada (Directed by: Noah Pink)
For all us movie nerds, this video takes scenes from some well-known films (Forrest Gump, Top Gun, Ghostbusters) and infuses musical elements into them with microphones instead of guns and keyboards in place of wingmen. This slightly silly idea works perfectly for the fun song as we watch various film characters sing along to the toe-tapping lyrics.
3. “Big Bad Wolf” by Duck Sauce, England (Directed by: Keith Schofield)
What would it be like if we all walked around with literal pant bulges? Schofield takes this idea and pairs it with hilarious (and at time shocking) visuals that make Duck Sauce’s catchy song one you will not just want to listen to, but one you have to see.
2. “Machine Civilization” by World Order, Japan (Directed by: Genki Sudo)
Taking the idea of flash mobs to a slowed down and even more visually stimulating level, this group of Japanese “business men” go from surprising innocent airport bystanders to surprising us with their intricate dance moves. The Japanese music scene may be known more for its infectious pop music, but World Order’s electro-dance sound made this a song that was quickly added to my iTunes play list.
1. “Tuck the Darkness In” by Bowerbirds, USA (Directed by: Carlos Lopez Estrada)
Featuring a captivating little boy, Estrada shows us how his connection to fish and sea life may not just be simple childlike curiosity. The Bowerbirds light and lovely sound pairs perfectly with this idea of wonder as their lyrics sing to a “dear friend.”