Music videos can be a great place to discover emerging film talent. My attention was recently grabbed by British band Django Django’s new music video for their latest single ‘WOR’.
The video is directed by Jim Demuth and takes the form of a mini documentary. The subject of the film are an extraordinary group of Indian men, who make a living driving motorbikes and cars around a vertical, cylindrical wall – the ‘Well of Death’. This makes for inspiring footage, but it is not just the interesting subject matter that causes the video to stand out. The visuals are entrancing. Demuth combines extreme close-ups and handheld camera shots, some taken from inside the sideways vehicles, to the effect that the viewer is subsumed in the action. The daredevil men, and the fairground patrons, stare straight down the camera lens in a confrontational and contemplative engagement with the viewer.
Jim Demuth’s other work includes short film ‘Aokigahara Suicide Forest’, a morbid yet fascinating look at Japan’s most popular suicide spot at the foot of Mount Fuji. Geologist Azusa Hayano, who walks through the forest regularly, describes the cultural relevance of the forest and, chillingly, looks for signs of recent deaths. The film shares the harsh white lighting of the ‘WOR’ music video, and the same handheld camera-work.
Short video ‘Pricasso’ makes for more light hearted viewing, if an Australian man using his penis to paint sounds like your kind of thing. Both videos can be found at the link below. Demuth’s films have so far proven themselves to be constantly concerned with intriguing subject matter and are filmed in a thoughtful yet refreshingly liberated style.