BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — As any cinematographer knows, music videos form a genre not to be taken lightly. In the 5-minute, 15-second runtime of Coldplay’s “Magic,” the lead single from the “Ghost Stories” album that spent 14 weeks on the Billboard charts, the brashness, effects and sheer exuberance of the silent film homage piece illustrates why so many video-makers go on to full-fledged feature directing.
Poland’s Camerimage fest, long wise to the formative influence of music videos, this year honors music video artist Jonas Akerlund for outstanding achievement in the form. The former drummer for Swedish metal band Bathory, who has shot work for Lady Gaga, Metallica and Rammstein, knows his rock. Akerlund’s video for The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” proved a bit too hot to handle for many networks.
But Camerimage, which for years has celebrated the form, continues to bring in cinematographers who have made the Stones and George Michael look their coolest, and it has appointed cinematographer Ed Lachman to head the jury considering 20 entries — including Akerlund’s “Magic.”
Just as Guy Ritchie and David Fincher have shown — to take just two examples of many — the mini-movie realm allows not only for rockers to express their vision, but for future filmmakers with attitude to push boundaries and build their brand.
Fincher, in particular, was cited this week at Camerimage by D.P. Matthew Libatique — also serving on the jury — who said he would be willing to let him alone make alterations to his framing after shooting — adding that the way Fincher uses anamorphic lenses to exaggerate close-ups is just one reason to respect the former video-maker for Sting and Madonna.