Short Film Friday: Short Films Masquerading as Music Videos


"Q.U.E.E.N." by Janelle Monae (ft. Erykah Badu) Dir: Alan Ferguson Runtime: 6m Album: The Electric Lady (Due September 2013) Fresh off of her brilliant futuristic Metropolis suite, Monae sheds her android messiah persona and is reborn in the opposite role: a rebel from the past awoken in the future, also to deliver a message.


"The Unforgiven" by Metallica Dir: Matt Mahurin Runtime: 12m Album: Metallica (aka The Black Album) For a big of a changeup from Janelle Monae we move swiftly into the what-the-fuck-was-that-about territory that Metallica staked out with their long video for their first take on The Unforgiven (there is, unfortunately, a sequel song and video). Once upon a time this was the rarest of rare things, airing once on a Metallica special on Mtv and not, to my knowledge, ever again. The WTF factor is extremely high in this theatrical version of the video, and even Metallica themselves seem to have had no real idea what Mahurin was saying about youth and age and emotional and physical imprisonment told through an array of black and white images.


"First Love Never Die" by Soko Dir: Soko & Matthew Gray Gubler Runtime: 4:30 Album: I Thought I Was an Alien Another changeup! The serene Casio sound of the French bohemian Soko is set perfectly in sync to the lyrics in this wistful 8mm short film about first love, one of several she made for new album I Thought I Aas an Alien. We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow (NSFW) is also well worth a look.


"Runaway" by Kanye West Dir: Kanye West Runtime: 35m Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Kanye has always been kind of crazy, even before this Yeezus stuff; sometimes it's a damned admirable level of crazy, sometimes it puts something crazy original and amazing into the world. (Want some more Kanye? Check out his ultra-weird short film sort of set to We Were Once a Fairytale directed by Spike Jonze.)


"The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire Dir: Spike Jonze Runtime: 6m Album: The Suburbs Speaking of Spike Jonze, the video for Arcade Fire's The Suburbs is the literal embodiment of this SFF installment: it was cut together out of piece of a longer short film he and the band had concocted about a near future suburban dystopia that runs parallel to most of the album, where neighborhood battles neighborhood and neighbor battles neighbor. The full short film is available on the special edition version of The Suburbs (the one with the red cover).

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