4/15/2009

The Audacity of Rock: Part 6

Using early cinema stylings for music videos.

I'll admit I love this one. The more theatrical a band can get, the better. And what's more theatrical than silent film?

"Tonight Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins

This video takes the basic plot from Melies' "A Trip to the Moon" (1902) and makes it a love story. Who knew the Smashing Pumpkins could make something more adorable?

Here's the original cinemagician Georges Melies at work in part 2 of "A Trip to the Moon":



And here's the fantastic video from the Smashing Pumpkins:




"Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance

This video borrows a lot from German Expressionism from its heavy black eye make-up (not just emo-liner) to its bleak gas masks and skeletons, not to mention the lonely hero at the end. Post-WWI was not a fun time. Anyway, while a lot of this movement performed in theatre, quite a few early silent films used some of the same techniques that showed internal emotion and turned it into symbolic set design and props in addition to exaggerated body movements.

Here's a super creepy scene from Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) complete with black eye make-up and stylized sets:



And here's MCR's video:




Questions to ponder:
1. How much would you like to believe that rock bands actually research this stuff and knew a lot about early cinema and it wasn't just the people who work for them?
2. Would everything be better if it was done in an expressionist form? Why or why not?

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 of The Audacity of Rock.

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