Hiro Murai

Clapping For The Wrong Reasons

Why Watch? For the second day in a row we feature a Community star’s short film output. Yesterday it was Gillian Jacobs going dark, and today it’s Donald Glover being incredibly chill. Both are fascinating because of their style and content, but they’re also interesting in light of the kind of short work that the show’s actors were putting out just a few years ago. Directed by Hiro Murai (the man behind music videos like Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”) and written by Glover, this airy short spends downtime with the actor (presumably as a fictionalized (or real?) version of his Childish Gambino alter-ego) as he floats through an expensive estate populated by other artists and happy hangers-on. Filled with everyday moments that seem slightly odd, bits of in-progress rap and a few heart-to-heart stories, it’s a plotless narrative that feels like the pleasant version of the abyss staring back. It’s maybe mysterious, maybe philosophical, maybe referencing J.D. Salinger with its title, but it doesn’t really hang its hat on anything enough to be tagged for pretentiousness. There’s also — save for an unknown girl that shows up on the scene and a single moment of intense old school symbolism — no real conflict to speak of. It’s a gorgeous movie featuring a rare look into the calm zoo of creative wealth.

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LAFF: Eclectic Mix

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.

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