I don’t know about you, but I live by the philosophy that the more greasy and unhealthy food in my life, the better. Hello curly fries! Good morning deep fried bacon! So what better way to celebrate everyone’s favorite food group than to wear its proudest member—the hamburger—on your precious feet?
Almost too many hip people worked on this (literally) drool-worthy collaboration, to bring about a limited edition of hamburger sneakers styled across the classic #95 Vans Era: first up is the one and only Mark Hunter, aka the CobraSnake, who designed these beauties in honor and memory of his obsession with hamburgers before he became a vegetarian ten years ago. Everything that dude does is frustratingly awesome, and this is no exception. To launch the Vans in an appropriately elitist fashion is the French haven of cool, Colette.
There are tragically few men’s fashion campaigns and videos ever released, so when one pops up we snatch it right up. Fashion films for men’s clothing are a world apart from that of their female counterpart—in that dizzingly competitive world everybody has to be innovative and new at a lightning pace, in the hope to buck a trend and get noticed. It’s not the case with men’s fashion; their videos are generally more low key and contemplative, letting the clothes speak for themselves. That’s not to say men’s fashion films aren’t embittered by cliches—there’s always a bar and a stiff drink, and, strangely enough there’s rarely any women about.
Danish label Matinique does adhere to the typical men’s fashion video criteria, but its setting and cinematography make it a stand out. Filmed on location in Las Vegas by director Mads Feldballe, The dusty plains and empty bars are suitably matched to the collection Matinique is promoting: it’s not crisp and glamorous, it’s a little rough around the edges, but smart enough to make handsome beaus like the model in this clip even more refined.
The first time I watched this video I really didn’t get what was going on—Laurence Fishburne + lots of quick cuts + avocado + truffle oil ‘just because’ + wine + “find me some basil” = …? I’m still a bit baffled by the whole ordeal.
It turns out this clip is just one of many snippets from the life of legendary men’s fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, unveiled in the intimate documentary about the designer titledA Man’s Story. A colossal twelve years in the making, the documentary started off as a short term project for director Varon Bonicos. As creative projects tend to elongate themselves, Bonicos’ project rapidly snowballed into twelve years and resulted in 580 hours of Boateng’s private and professional life documented. It’s no wonder Boateng sustained Bonicos’ interest—at 23 he opened his first store on the Savile Row, and erratically and ecstatically never paused for a moment since (Bonicos insists that Boateng’s energy was the most difficult element of the project to keep up with.)
A Man’s Story covers all the raw terrain that Boateng travelled in twelve years—through career highlights and tragedies, as well as his volatile divorce: an incident that inspired Fishburne’s insane cooking lesson (as he says in the beginning—so Boateng can “be a better husband and father.”) Bonicos’ documentary promises to be one of the most revealing portraits of the fashioin world, about a deeply fascinating man and his devotion to fashion. Watch the trailer for A Man’s Storyhere.
Third in the Brooklyn-based documentary series, The Beekeeper is part of Made by Hand, showcasing inspiring individuals and what makes up their specific, environmentally sustainable identities.
Made by Hand was created out of the belief that the things we collect, consume, use, and share are part of who we are as individuals. For example, the food that we eat says something about each of us, as do the tools we use and the chairs we rest on. Objects that surround the space we dwell in tell stories, and not just about us. Where did they come from? Who made them? How were they made?
Part three focuses on the unusual career of Megan Paska, a full-time beekeeper in Brooklyn. Paska’s workspace—overgrown flowers everyplace and vegetable patches sprouting up healthily—brings every indoor, nine-to-five office to a bitter shame. Even more envious is Paska’s confident perspective on life and what to take from it, after having successfully found her niche, her love in working life. The close up shots of intricate bee colonies and hives is nothing short of fascinating here—collecting chunks of honey while basking in the honey coloured sunset of a Brooklyn afternoon, I think Megan Paska has found paradise.
We’ve written about the world’s movie-of-the-moment/ cinematic darling The Artistbefore, but it’s so damn charming we’re talking about it again, this time with the help of its acclaimed French director, Michel Hazanavicius. His name may be a mouthful but the way in which Hazanavicius describes and explains the artistry behind the artist is simple and inspiring: he says, “It’s a movie for movie lovers and reminds you why you first loved movies.”
Hazanavicius’ accent punctuates this interview as he describes the use of the famous Kuleshov effect in The Artist and subsequently the role of Uggie the dog as (ironically) one of George Valentin’s most likeable ‘traits’. I’m still pinching myself that a director today was game enough to go back to where film began, and to succeed so triumphantly; to create an undisputed masterpiece of cinema. Seeing the passionate, fiery eyes of Hazanavicius light up as he talks about The Artist—his most beloved creation—is humbling and even more inspirational than the film itself. Watch for some behind the scenes snippets (which are surprising; I often forget that Jean Dujardin isn’t actually a black and white human being), beginner’s film education and more of film’s most beloved pooch and regular talk show guest, Uggie.
I once wisely texted whilst intoxicated, “Them bitches can’t get enough of Bon Iver.” My cloudy, drunk logic has never been quite so clear, so profound: seriously, girls and guys (okay, mostly girls) swoon and swoon hard over Justin Vernon’s delicately affecting brand of musical finery, and with justified reason. His voice is unmistakably gorgeous and his lyrics meaningful; he experiments with 80’s power ballads and is a hopeless romantic. The latest clip for Towers—a song that’s beautiful in overarching, intimidating proportions—is a cinematic and heart-rending accompaniment to Vernon’s moving track.
Directed by NABIL, I was perhaps most affected by the clip because it’s a flawless combination of two of my favourite books – Where the Wild ThingsAreand Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea. In a large bookstore I once read a staff review of Hemingway’s novel that I’ll never forget: “There are 100,000 books in this store. This is the best one.” It’s a lofty compliment that deserves a thoughtful cinematic re-telling (let’s ignore the woeful, 1958 film): by chance, Towers contains a character and a landscape that rings very (beautifully) true of that masterpiece, while there’s the added playful flavor of Maurice Sendak/Spike Jonze here—the vastness of Where the Wild Things Are is present, as is those grand, toppling constructions made from sticks. ‘Haunting’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot about video clips, but this one is truly deserving of such an adjective: watch Towers, it will stay with you.
Any God-Bill Murrary-fearing Wes Anderson fan will be anxiously counting down the days until Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson’s first feature since 2009, is released into our cinemas and our kitschy, ironic souls. We mark our diaries in perfect symmetry with a red pen, hovering above our desks exactly like this, just to get appropriately hyped. To briefly settle the anxious palpitations of our Wes-deprived hearts, Hyundai premiered two commercials (the first above; the second here) directed by the man himself, which premiered during the Oscars broadcast on Sunday night.
And boy, does it make us want to empty our bank accounts and buy a Hyundai. The overload of Wes-isms make us smile with nostalgia for the first time we watched The Royal Tenenbaums, the countless times we watched Rushmore on rainy weekends in high school, and even for yesterday, when we watched every Anderson slow-mo shot set to Ja Rule. Car ads are boring. That is an undisputed and given fact (except for this one). They’re all sleek exteriors and comfy interiors with exceedingly handsome drivers and fake smiles. Thank you, Wes, for the flying car in your commercial and passengers wearing helmets underwater (so very Zissou). Thank you for your signature lateral tracking between sets, symmetrical shots, your yellow coloring every scene, a dad who can’t get being a dad right, magnets falling off a fridge in an instant cascade and a cute kid happily sitting in a high cupboard.
And now those sixty seconds are over, we’re back to nervously waiting Moonrise Kingdom. You’re killing us, Wes.
Recently formed Sydney band Ginger and the Ghost call themselves “Two visual artists who have transformed their imagination into song.” With powerful, Kimbra-like vocals and an enchantingly layered sound, the Ginger and the Ghost duo are certainly ones to watch. Their debut video release for their track Where Wolf is like every colour and every piece of string in the world has gone to party and float about a curious bush landscape, dotted by unusual characters draped in flowing fabric with a distant look in their eyes. We spoke to director Cris Balmaceda Errazuriz about working with an impressively low budget, collaborating with the band and his passion for music videos.
PORTABLE: How do you and Ginger and The Ghost know each other? How did the collaboration come about?
Both Ginger and the Ghost and I are keen collaborators so we started bouncing ideas naturally and evolving this concept together. I think it involved us drawing a picture together at one point.
There were only four of us involved in the whole project from start to finish with only about a grand or so to work with, so we made good use of all of our skills. Missy from G&G is a mad installation artist so we made sure we could make most of her with the video and decided to go for something quite visually focused rather than plot driven, Dan from G&G is an insane maker of all things who was amazing to have on board.
Can you tell us more about all the amazing props and costumes you used in the clip? Where did it all come from?
Because of Missy and Dan’s work with installations for shop fronts and sets, we already had a lot of props and materials to work with. You should really see their studio, it’s like stepping into the Wonka chocolate factory, I don’t even think Hollywood has the kind of materials we had! They have all sorts of fun little props and where able to borrow a lot from people they knew here and there, I think the Sydney based designer Lisa Ho helped us out a lot by lending us a few costumes and whole box of antlers which where fantastic to play around with; antlers aren’t an every day thing for us here in Sydney so we where stoked.
Your clip reminded us a lot of Grizzly Bear’s incredible video Ready, Able. Even though the song is totally different and it’s not using animation, the vibes from the colours, the bush setting and the river were all strong. Were you at all inspired by that?
To be honest I hadn’t really seen the video until well after we finished Where Wolf, Allison Schulnik’s work with Grizzly Bear is incredible, but I think we both seem to tap into the vibe of playfulness. I think it’s the fact that we have done everything with our own hands, much like what is done in plasticine, and rather than try and make it look real we where more about creating our own reality out of the fantasy we had. I think a lot of filmmakers these days tap into the “make-believe” side of things, which is a wonderful practice that compliments video work, especially when combined with the great outdoors down here. I also think we must take a lot of influence from the previous generation of filmmakers work; I am sure we have all watched quite a few Gondry music videos growing up to say the least!
A lot of filmmakers who make video clips disregard the song altogether and use it as a vehicle for experimentation, which can often be jarring. Your clip really fits with Where Wolf, is that quality important for you in a music video?
I think for me, when a filmmaker makes a music video their job is to translate the same concepts and ideas that the music embodies to a visual plane, and that’s pretty much what I tried to do. In some cases I think it is quite appropriate to go for a clash, as it can be just a powerful as harmony, but I try very hard to portray the ideas and emotions that I think and feel when I listen to the music. We sort of knew that it just fit well, there’s that feeling when you hit the nail on the head. In a sense it was achieving a synchronicity between sight and sound by getting in sync with one another, I guess that’s what collaboration is essentially about.
It’s Friday night: it’s been one of those terribly nondescript weeks and here you are, finally, among the buzz and warmth of a room filled with people laughing, feeling the fizz of beer on their tongues, shaking off work to feel the looseness in their limbs. There’s chemistry in the room, like most live shows: a pack of strangers brought together by their mutual love for a band’s music—how special, how superbly unique is that, in itself? Canadian six-piece band, Hey Rosetta! is in a clamour of a swelling, triumphant chorus captures that inherent interconnectedness in their flawless new clip, New Sum.
There’s something so ambitious and impressive about a band taking enough care in a video clip to go down the arduous and tricky animation route: here, the result is so magnificent and touching, adding a whole new element to the song by matching its lyrics perfectly to the video, highlighting lyrical finery like “They ain’t seen the wire strung between them…I seen a million wires, the finest thread, strung spine to spine.”
Director Jesse Davidge has absolutely nailed the animation in New Sum: it’s got that distinct breath of reality to it, very much like the groundbreaking A Scanner Darkly; yet the purposefully jerky movements and blotches of colour ring true to the Mary Blair era of Disney, or, more recently, the impeccable Oscar noiminated L’illusioniste. There’s no doubt that the narrative of humans being unknowingly, yet fundamentally, attached is altogether more meaningful in the smoky palette animation than it could ever be through just its lyrics—the brief strings of red punch through and reach out and are so evocative against the cold and snowy background of a Canadian winter, magically and surreally igniting the line “All the bankers and the beggars and all the bears are brothers.”
Yesterday, that spellbinding, immaculate, too good to be real film The Artist rightly swept up its fair share of awards at The Oscars. Hooray for real film stunning critics and audiences alike; hooray for French actors, a French director (Michel Hazanavicius), John Goodman, Missi Pyle, and for being entirely shot in L.A. It’s magnificent, and if I don’t stop waxing lyrical about it and Uggie the dog soon I’ll become a mess. Let’s get on with it.
The Artist was so successful because it was—at once—innovative and new, while also paying tribute to the backbone of cinema, where it all began: silent films. I hate to go all Midnight in Paris on you, but can you imagine living in the roaring twenties–that impeccable golden age—and going out to the cinema, watching a film accompanied by live music? Let’s take a look at some of the best silent films that treated the wealthy and glamorous all those years ago, and ignited those things we call movies.