Is it silly that I sat for thirty-five minutes glued to YouTube and my computer watching the latest, if not greatest, showcase of Kanye West‘s pleionosis? No.
Kanye’s new music
video film shows off a handful of songs from his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy including the namesake Runaway and borrows heavily from the film styles of some of my all time favorite films.
I was struck at how many elements of the short seemed to come from the films mentioned above. The acting by Kanye is pretty horrible but the scenes are powerful, the dancing is beautiful, full of passion and the cinematography is stunning.
It has the quiet strength from A Single Man. The beautiful shots of vibrant color and emotion of The Fall, strong film stylings that I Am Cuba managed using infrared film and almost silly similarities in dancing, outfits and premise from Black Swan and Passion Play. There is so much sampled that here that I’m not sure if I should congratulate Kanye on a job well done emulating these great films (Passion Play withstanding) or call him out for plagiarism.
The Fall (note the use of red, the vibrant color and surreal feeling from the shots)
I Am Cuba (note shot angles, darkness, infrared film use effect and destruction by fire)
A Single Man (note the silence, long shots, some nature scenes not shown here etc)
Black Swan (note ballerina outfits, makeup, premise)
Passion Play (note film’s similarity in Kanye’s pleionosis, costume and premise)
It’s the story of a phoenix fallen to Earth, and I make her my girlfriend, and people discriminate against her and eventually she has to burn herself alive and go back to her world.
The art direction of the video is great with its set design, use of color and monocrome, lighting, cinematography… just about everything is a beautiful Runaway ripoff of what someone else already produced. Never has Prague been shown to be as alluring.
Immediately clear from the film are the following:
- Kanye does have good taste
- Millions of dollars can make a gorgeous, and bizarre, music video
- Kanye loves fireworks, explosions and showing his wealth
- YouTube as a distribution model works (over 9 million views)
- Kanye knows how to take advantage of social media
- Lady Gaga has so much more yet left to do…