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Category:    Home > Reviews > Music Videos > Rock > Shorts > Work Of Jonathan Glazer (Directors Label)

The Work Of Jonathan Glazer (Directors Label/Volume Five)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: B+     Videos: B+



We continue our look at the terrific Palm Pictures-released Directors Label DVD series with the fifth volume on The Work Of Jonathan Glazer.  Glazer’s work offers a world of changing Britishisms, mortality, classical gangsterism, and the almost supernatural spaces between man, nature and the unnatural.  Though there are some qualities of Stanley Kubrick’s work (sometimes by way of Ridley Scott), what is most interesting is how Glazer is continuing a school of gritty urban British filmmaking that has not survived as well as it should have.  In his own personal way, he has fused all these qualities together into a new personal vision that is striking and of the moment.  The Music Video clips here are:



Street Spirit – Radiohead appear in this black and white clip that layers various images in regular and slow motion, as the band members are in a metallic trailer park.  The too real and surreal are meshed to sad effect.


Virtual Insanity – At a time when everyone (especially the media) was talking about virtual reality and its promises not only never materialized, but were laughed off, this brilliant Video for the band Jamiroquai makes one wonder if lead singer Jay Kay or the room itself is moving.  The result is an ever-compelling work that totally expresses the song’s idea of people being pushed out of the world by technology.


A Song For The Lovers (2.35 x 1) – Richard Ashcroft’s song is twisted a bit by applying diegetic sound effects as he finds himself stuck in his own private space, no matter where he goes in his apartment.  Partly influenced by a concluding moment in 2001.


Into My Arms – The great Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are here in this black and white work for this bluesy song about spiritual contact.  The constant direct shots of the human face remind one of Godley & Creme’s Cry, but without any visual effects added.  Striking and beautiful.


Rabbit In Your Headlights (2.35 X 1) – The UNKLE clip shot in black and white with always-memorable French actor Denis Lenoir as a disturbed man walking through a tunnel with all kinds of traffic, including its memorable conclusion. 


The Universal (Version One/1.78 X 1) – Many videos have tried to imitate Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971), but this one for the band Blur still holds up as one of the most accurate, effective and clever to date.  Elements of 2001 are also here, but it is impressive, as is the song.


Karma Police (1.78 X 1)– Powerful Radiohead video (also on their fine 7 Television Commercials set) about a desperate man being taunted with torture and death at the hands of a big old car, it is visually stark, yet vivid.  It is one of the band’s best songs too.


Karmacoma (Uncut/1.66 X 1) – The Massive Attack song is shot in vivid color as a hoodlum tries to escape with a bag of money, but escape from this place may not be as easy as it seems.  Glazer has fun with Kubrick’s The Shining in unexpected ways, particularly by its infusion of the Gangster genre.




Technically, the image is terrific on just about all these clips, though where the video white is a tad off and detail is slightly thinner, that suggests a slight generation down from the master source.  All are 1.33 x 1 except where otherwise indicated and none of the letterboxed Videos are anamorphically enhanced.  That does not hurt their picture performance too much.  Virtual Insanity for instance, has great color quality and image richness.  Note the color on Kay’s zip-up top.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is often richer than in just about any case you are likely to encounter, with surrounds in some clips, for which you can experiment to hear which songs play back best which way.  This critic prefers two-channel in these cases.  In the case of The Universal, it looks better and sounds much better than The Best Of Blur collection from a few years ago.


Extras include another great 56-page booklet with photos, illustrations, and Walter Campbell interviewing Glazer, while the DVD has at least one excellent audio commentary track for each Video, 11 television commercials he has directed, including two exceptional clips with Samuel L. Jackson for a financial services company, excerpts and interviews with the actors involved with his first two feature films (Sexy Beast and Birth) including Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone, Nicole Kidman and cinematographer Harris Savides, and Tramp with Paul Kaye.  That adds up to yet another strong and impressive installment in this series from a director who is just getting warmed up.  Be sure to catch it!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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