Mark Romanek, Jonathan Glazer, Anton Corbijn, and Stephane Sedanou
Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., Dec. 23, 2005
The Work of Director Mark Romanek
The Work of Director Jonathan Glazer
The Work of Director Anton Corbijn
The Work of Director Stéphane Sedanoui
Music videos, note musicians and filmmakers here many times, are thought of quite differently by those who make them and those who fund them. Executives want a simple, preferably cheap way to reach consumers; directors and performers want a lasting piece of art. Fortunately, finding an audience isn't a problem in the rarefied circles kept by these four genre auteurs: U2, Madonna, Jay-Z, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Radiohead. Videos are integral to each act's persona for some like Björk, they practically are the persona so when they go before the camera, they want directors who need no introduction past their credits: explosive and direct cineaste Mark Romanek ("Hurt," "Closer"); meticulous, kinetic Monty Python fan Jonathan Glazer ("Karma Police," "Virtual Insanity"); lush and sensual Stéphane Sedanoui ("Give It Away," "Ironic"); Anton Corbijn, taken with religious symbolism and the Mojave desert ("One," "Enjoy the Silence"). Iconic images come one after another: Kurt Cobain's piercing blue eyes in Corbijn's "Heart Shaped Box," Beck's me-and-my-boombox urban odyssey in Romanek's "Devil's Haircut," Björk flitting through Manhattan on a flatbed trailer in Sedanoui's "Big Time Sensuality." Romanek, the lone Yank in the bunch, made his name tweaking the stock live-performance clip to stunning effect in videos as recent as Linkin Park's "Faint" and distant as En Vogue's "Free Your Mind." The Europeans prefer to fashion short films, leading to the phosphorescent orgy of Sedanoui's "Disco Science" (Mirwais), haunted trailer park of Glazer's "Street Spirit" (Radiohead), and U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. cavorting with a mermaid in Corbijn's "Electrical Storm." In able hands, videos can be much more besides art. They're great if you want to slather Henry Rollins in red paint or dress up Sofia Coppola like Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver.