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Videotic influences

New crop of music stars derives inspiration from filmmaking geniuses for song videos.

music Updated: Mar 26, 2010 02:07 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times

Inspiration’s contagious, and musicians are making it apparent. The cackle of a newborn and an autumn tree shedding leaves don’t inspire new music stars, as they’ve now learnt to derive stimulus from their filmmaking peers. The Grammy-winning pop star Lady GaGa, who’s known for her quirky sense of style and cocky vocals, recently said she’s inspired by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. She said the (raunchy) video of her new track Telephone, is inspired by a slew of Tarantino hits.

She may be the last to confess it but many musicians have shown hints of their filmmaking mentors’ art through their music videos. Helsinki-based alternative/ rock act, Poets of the Fall’s mega-hit — Carnival of Rust — boasts of a video set in a Tim Burton-esque fair. The dark, surreal clip, which shows men with painted faces and clowns letting out wicked laughs, made many think it’s directed by the American filmmaker himself. “There’s so much symbolic imagery (between the video and Burton’s films)… they’ve nailed the theme and tone to fit the song,” reads a blogpost on

Filmmaking greats such as Lars Von Trier, Joel and Ethan Coen and Wong Kar Wai, known for their distinct sense of cinema, have found fans in musicians in the past. Spike Lee, who worked with pop king Michael Jackson, is also responsible for lending the late singer’s great body of music a worthy visual appeal. Lee, who directed the video of MJ’s They Don’t Care About Us, inspired many directors who worked with the legend. Ace American filmmakers such as David Lynch and Wes Anderson have also influenced works of musicians. While Lynch directed the video of electronic guru Moby’s Shot in the Back of the Head and set a trend the DJ stuck to, Anderson’s vision from the film, Rushmore, was adapted by indie rock act, Company of Thieves for the visual of their debut track, Oscar Wilde.

However, many music icons made a fool of themselves by adapting a film setting in their song videos. Videos of rapper Busta Rhymes’ I Love My Chick (based on Doug Liman’s Mr and Mrs Smith) and hip-hop biggie Jay-Z’s The City Is Mine (a take on Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects) are examples of how this wedlock can go horrendously wrong.

First Published: Mar 25, 2010 17:44 IST