Picks Of The Week

Monark – Soldier
As you might have guessed we are fans of Ryan Kruger’s oeuvre here, and his latest video for Monark is another check in the ‘this guy knows what he’s doing’ column. Making magic out of a simple setup, Kruger and his DP Fahema Hendricks create some of the most evocative black and white photography you’ll see this side of a Fritz Lang retrospective. It’s all about the lighting, which not only gorgeously illuminates billowing smoke and splashing water, but shifts and changes to reveal facets of the characters and environment previously masked in darkness. Reportedly shot in a warehouse over the course of one day, you have to appreciate the creative team’s precision and attention to detail through what must have been a rigorous production.

WVV – Neptune
Flowers! Butterflies! Things!! While the animated content of the video for WVV’s ‘Neptune’ off their debut album Pulsar verges on tacky, it’s saved by the ability of animator Caitie Polly Weare to find truly extraordinary and unique imagery in stills of everyday plants and animals. And while the animations themselves are not always graceful, she is able to find moments that perfectly complement the rhythm of the track. And what a track it is! We are exciting for the upcoming series of videos WVV plans to release for the album.

Batuk – Gira
Usually when you hear the descriptor ‘fan-made’ you might be inclined to run the other way, because the quality of fan-produced work can vary wildly, from 50 Shades of Grey to legolas by laura. But of course, many fans are artists in their own right, and the video for Batuk’s track ‘Gira’ is evidence of that. Here the unidentified fan sourced footage for this video from documentaries and stock material, which could easily result in a random, haphazard selection, but the shots and imagery chosen here are expertly curated. The real talent on display, however, is in the editing – the creator found shots that perfectly match the movement of the music, especially in terms of visual motion. The timing, rhythm, transitions, and visual language that emerges is truly inspired. Batuk should really find this guy or gal to collaborate again!

Dr. Bone – Noma Benga Khuluma (feat. iNdidane)
Bandile “Dr. Bone” Maphalala’s video for his track ‘Noma Benga Khuluma’ is a perfect marriage of the traditional and the contemporary. As a hip hop artist paying tribute to the legendary maskandi musician iNdidane, this fusion of the old and the new is only appropriate, and it’s executed perfectly. Shot in Msinga reportedly as a way for Maphalala to get close to the late iNdidane where he lived, what we get is a relatively contemporary hip hop music video, replete with modern trendy attire, but set against the backdrop of a beautiful rural setting. With so many videos set in clubs and urban locations that could be anywhere in the world, it’s inspiring to see a South African artist embracing his country’s roots – from musical predecessors to traditional dance – and rolling those influences into his current work. It is a touching tribute and a good-looking music video to boot.

Nicolas Winding Refn – The Neon Demon
We don’t often highlight movie trailers in Picks of the Week, but from here on out that’s going to change, since trailers really can be considered an art form in and of themselves. We will always try to highlight exciting local work, but otherwise will set our sights overseas. And with Nicolas Winding Refn’s upcoming The Neon Demon what a sight we have. At this point, we do not yet know which Refn is going to show up – the style-maven of visionary films Bronson and Drive, or the divisive director of his most recent outing Only God Forgives. But undoubtedly, Refn is setting out into uncharted territory with his unrestrained look at the world of fashion, and star Elle Fanning, who has really been up-and-coming for a long while now, may finally have the role that will propel her into mainstream consciousness. However excited you might be for the film, this trailer is really something to marvel at.

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.