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Picks Of The Week

Desmond and the Tutus – Lazy Bones

Fresh from one of our esteemed INDIE Channel Music Video Grant winners, these guys obviously know what they’re doing when it comes to great video concepts. Here riffing on decades of American television tropes – from classic soaps to beloved cult shows and even infomercials – Desmond and his fellow Tutus milk their wonderful and hilarious idea to its fullest extent. Simply filmed using primarily a green screen and basic effects, the result is entirely convincing, and the sheer number and variety of references are head-spinning. We are, of course, very excited to see what comes next from the group.

Lance Herman – Rollercoaster

Sometimes when you put a familiar location on film, the place you thought you knew transforms into something alien and extraordinary. That is exactly what happens in the latest video from Lance Herman for his track ‘Rollercoaster’. You wouldn’t immediately think of Sea Point as a destination for a visually interesting video shoot, but Herman and director Anton Du Preez find beauty in this urban setting. Gorgeously shot on the fly, Herman’s companion Lou-Lou Taylor is wonderfully whimsical as she dances anywhere and everywhere. There’s something magical about exposing the fantastic in the familiar, and it makes you wonder what other everyday locations might look like observed through a new lens.

Batuk ft. Nandi Ndlovu – Call Me Naughty

I love it when a relatively simple visual idea unlocks a wealth of potential mind-blowing imagery and the idea in play in Batuk’s video for ‘Call Me Naughty’ is one of those. By simply repeatedly reversing time in short sections of video, the group finds an effect that is simultaneously surreal and a perfect rhythmic complement to the track. From the first shots out of an airplane of clouds moving backwards and forwards, there is a distinct “WTF?” feeling (because how often do you see a plane reverse?) and the visual trip continues from there. Admittedly some shots work better than others, but when they land on a shot that feels perfectly bizarre it makes the entire video work. Batuk is a collection of truly extraordinary artists from across South Africa (and the continent at large) and we can’t wait to see what else they come up with.

Kellan – I’ll Be

Fair warning, the video for Kellan’s debut single ‘I’ll Be’ is not an easy watch. Focusing, as the song itself does, on the horrific phenomenon of corrective rape – sexual assaults that are perpetrated on the basis of ‘curing’ a person who is not heterosexual – the video does not pull any punches. It’s shocking, disgusting, and all too real. But tackling an issue like this in a song takes courage, and in a music video even more so. We don’t often look to music videos to take on social injustices, but in a country as rife with ills and violence as South Africa it is encouraging to see public figures, like artists, take a stand. Whatever you might think of the song or even the production values of the video, making a strong statement counts for a hell of a lot.

Crissi Cochrane – Pretty Words

There is little that is more endearing than honesty and authenticity, and that is what Crissi Cochrane’s video for ‘Pretty Words’ accomplishes more than anything. Not a major star by any means, Cochrane decided to make a statement not only about beauty, but also about how artists present themselves publicly by steadily removing layers of makeup for a video that is shot entirely in close-up. It’s a bold move for an up-and-comer, but the effect is truly mesmerizing. For lovers of film craft, one can note not only the effect make-up has on a performer’s appearance, but also the changing lighting – from glamorous back and side-lighting to plain and flat frontal lighting. The disembodied hands do look a little silly on occasion, but you also have to appreciate how difficult it must have been for Cochrane to shoot this video with people rubbing her face throughout. Simple and elegant.

Sam Besser enjoys writing about arts and entertainment because he likes pretending people care about his opinions. He is a great lover of film and a casual lover of 15th-century stained glass windows. These interests rarely intersect.