The Work of Director-Jonathan Glazer (2005)

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Released 24-Jan-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Animation & Audio-Feat Glazer and Actor Paul Kaye
Audio Commentary-Feat. Nick Cave, Richard Ashcroft, Denis Lavant and more
TV Spots- Ride - Wrangler commercial
TV Spots- Surfer (extended), Swim Back, Dreamer - Guinness commercial
TV Spots- Protection - Volkswagen commercial
TV Spots- Last Orders, Whip Round - Stella Artois commercial
TV Spots- Kung Fu, Odyssey - Levi's commercial
TV Spots-Bull , Chicken - Barclays commercial feat. Samuel L. Jackson
Interviews-Cast-Interviews with Ray Winstone and Sir Ben Kingsley
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Interviews with Nicole Kidman, Danny Huston, Harris Savides.
Booklet-Includes photographs, sketches, storyboards and interview.
Credits
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 35:11
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jonathan Glazer
Nick Cave
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Milo Addica
Damon Albarn
Richard Ashcroft
Jean-Claude Carričre
Nick Cave
Graham Coxon
Robert del Naja
Olegar Fedoro
Colin Greenwood
Jonny Greenwood
Danny Huston
Samuel L. Jackson
Alex James
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music Nick Cave
Thom Yorke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
French
Italian
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

The Directors Label series returns with a welcomed volume dedicated to British director Jonathon Glazer. This is volume five of seven released music video and commercial compilation DVDs. Like the previously released sets, the director also helped with producing the content and structure of the DVD, which lends an authenticity to the project.

This compilation can be likened to the Chris Cunningham set as Glazer himself does not comment on his work, but there is an obvious care in producing the DVD. This volume exhibits Glazer’s individuality and collects rare visual work which charts the director’s own visual style, and unique outlook of the world.

Glazer has directed ten music videos in his career and eight are included on this DVD. Cosmic Girl by Jamiroquai and Live with Me by Massive Attack are absent. Glazer has also directed two acclaimed yet controversial feature films; Sexy Beast (2000) and Birth (2004). Both these films are exceptional and demonstrate Glazer’s penchant for slow building suspense and confronting thematic concerns. For example Radiohead’s Street Spirit (Fade Out) is the memorable closing track from their successful 1995 album The Bends. The song contains the cherished lyric 'Immerse your soul in love', however Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead has always claimed the song has a dark undercurrent as it explores the possibility that there is no hope, only loss and pain. Glazer’s accompanying music video visualises the song’s sinister outlook as there is no clear narrative but rather the band members filmed in black and white in various camera speeds. Glazer has always regarded this video as a defining moment in his own career, as he felt it was a work "that emoted, that had some kind of poetic as well as prosaic value”.(1) Glazer also directed the music video Karma Police for Radiohead from their phenomenally popular 1997 album OK Computer. Despite the popularity of the music video Glazer regards the final product without enthusiasm, “I regard "Karma Police" as a complete failure, because I decided to do a very minimalist, subjective use of camera, and tried to do something hypnotic and dramatic from one perspective, and it was very hard to achieve and I feel that I didn't achieve it”.(2)

Stylus Magazine claims Glazer's music video for UNKLE's Rabbit in your Headlights which features vocals by Thom Yorke, as the number one music video of all time. The music video follows an incoherent disturbed man walking through a darkened car tunnel, protected only by his coat. The character is played by Denis Lavant and the music video is shot in real time and features atmospheric sounds and dialogue mixed above the soundtrack. Similar filming techniques can be found in Richard Ashcroft’s A Song for Lovers. Blur’s The Universal and Massive Attack’s Karmacoma feature homages to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980). Also included on the set is the music video for Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai.


(1) Anthony Kaufman, ‘Shooting the "Beast"; Jonathan Glazer Tames the Gangster Genre.’

(2) Anthony Kaufman, ‘Shooting the "Beast"; Jonathan Glazer Tames the Gangster Genre.’


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Track Listing

1. "Street Spirit" - Radiohead
2. "Virtual Insanity" - Jamiroquai
3. "A Song..." - Richard Ashcroft
4. "Into My Arms" - Nick Cave ...
5. "Rabbit in Your Headlights" - UNKLE
6. "The Universal" by Blur
7. "Karma Police" by Radiohead
8. "Karmacoma" by Massive Attack

Transfer Quality

Video

The various music videos appear as they would have originally been broadcast, in 1.33:1 Full Frame. The original aspect ratios of the music videos vary but as Glazer’s music videos are envisioned like short films most appear to be filmed in 2.35:1 or 1:85:1 wide-screen. However no content on this DVD is 16x9 enhanced. On this single-layer single-sided disc the videos have been encoded at an average bit rate of 4.47 Mbps. The low encoding rate accounts for average sharpness and shadow detail as well as minor incidents of MPEG compression artefacts. The colour palette of each video is clear and true to the source and artistic vision while film grain is evident in some music videos. Overall the image quality isn’t particular striking and is rather average.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is clear but is not particularly suited to surround sound processing. There are no encoding errors and the videos that feature dialogue, atmospheric sound and the score are clear and audible. Subwoofer usage is limited.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

The structure of the menus on this series of DVDs is continuously inventive and tongue in cheek. The menus feature short introductions composed of hand-held black and white footage of a crew filming Glazer walking the London streets without his knowledge. The footage reveals where Glazer gets his ‘original’ ideas for commercials and music videos. Also the select individual music video option and select individual commercial option features an audio sound-bite of a comical conversation between two unnamed individuals (sometimes) discussing the content to be selected. The introductions and audio conversations can be skipped if preferred.

Audio Commentary

The audio commentaries are sourced from interviews with the artist and actors:

Rabbit in Your Headlights by UNKLE (18:38) - French Actor Denis Lavant details how he became involved in the production of the video and how he met Glazer. Lavant mentions the video was banned in France and takes us step by step through the production of the clip and details his costume and how he approached the performance of a human being dying, physically and psychologically. Optional English subtitles are included for Lavant’s French language commentary.

The second commentary is provided by James Lavelle of UNKLE who explains his understanding of Glazer’s approach to the visualisation of the song and why he collaborated with the director. Lavelle also details the public reaction, the broadcaster’s negative response and recording company’s panic regarding Glazer’s realistic depiction of car accidents.

Into My Arms by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (4:27) -Nick Cave honestly recalls his reaction to the memorable music video. Cave is unfortunately unhappy with the music video treatment as he believes the images overpower the song and the video as a whole is grim and depressing in contrast to what he believes is an uplifting spiritual song.

A Song for Lovers by Richard Ashcroft (8:05) - Richard Ashcroft explains the unusual approach to the music video and how he interprets the final product. Ashcroft also mentions his self-awareness on camera and how he feels about music videos in regards to how the strength of a visual image can overpower the lyrics of the song.

Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai (5:09) – Jay Kay recalls the chaos on set with fondness and goes through the video shot by shot recalling the difficulty of the performance.

The Universal by Blur (5:52) – Graham Coxon states he doesn’t particularly like the idea of music videos as he believes the images take away from the impact of the music. Coxon has never enjoyed participating in music videos and believes neither he nor the other members of the band are particularly interesting in the video. Rather Coxon finds the other characters and situations in the video to be more intriguing.

Karmacoma by Massive Attack (6:07) – 3D recalls his first impression of Glazer and the abstract approach of the music video. 3D also states Karmacoma was Glazer’s first music video and the director treated the concept of the music video as a part of a film.

The final feature of this section is titled Diary of a Lunatic (7:24) and documents the filming of a music video by a band named Lunatic. The band members introduce themselves to the camera and we follow their rehearsals. It is noted Glazer met the band while filming Sexy Beast.

TV Spots

Glazer’s directorial work for Wrangler, Guinness, Volkswagen, Stella Artois, Levis and Barcleys are all impressive and all feature the subtle humour and remarkable original visuals found in his music video and film work. The eleven advertisements are an excellent addition to the main content on the DVD. (13:40)

Guinness – Surfer (extended): A man stares into the distance… "he waits, that is what he does.”

Wrangler – Ride: A visual treat as a man and a woman race – destroying everything in their path.

Stella Artois –Whip Around: A beautifully filmed black and white advertisement which follows a group of priests trying to find a crate of Stella Artois which has fallen through the ice.

Guinness – Swim Black: How long does it take to pour the perfect pint?

Volkswagen – Protection: Another visual treat which details the similarities between man and machine.

Stella Artois – Last Orders: This is a familiar advertisement to those who watch SBS. A dying man asks his son to retrieve him a Stella Artois which incurs hilarious results. Stars Denis Lavant.

Levis - Kung Fu: A colourful advertisement which demonstrates the best way to wash your Levi jeans.

Guinness – Dreamer: A black and white advertisement which details the dreams which occur in between drinking Guinness.

Barclays – Bull and Chicken: Have you ever seen Dave Chappelle’s sketch in which he plays a loud Samuel L. Jackson in a beer advertisement? Well here you get to see Jackson advertising Barclays which is a UK banking company. In the first advertisement Jackson is speaking to the camera and recalls an incident of miscommunication, while the other similarly themed advertisement features Jackson discussing the issue of whether money is evil. Both are very funny and clever.

Films

The last section of the DVD offers excerpts from two of Glazer’s films and interviews with the cast and crew of those films.

Scene excerpt ‘You’re the Problem’ (3:11): The first excerpt offered is from the brilliant film Sexy Beast and features the final confrontation between the characters played by Sir Ben Kinsley and Ray Winstone.

Interview with Sir Ben Kinsley and Ray Winstone (9:20): The two celebrated actors detail their attraction to the originality of the project and how they found beauty in the anger and guilt of their characters.

Scene excerpt ‘Central Park’ (3:29): The second excerpt is from the opening of the controversial film Birth. This scene is incredible to look at and demonstrates Glazer’s determined approach and ability to capture the audiences’ attention through suspense and bewilderment.

A collection of interviews are included with the cast and crew of Birth (15:33). Nicole Kidman, Danny Huston, Harris Savides, Milo Addica and Jean-Claude Carričre all explain why they chose to work with Glazer and the differences between the ‘male film’ Sexy Beast and ‘female film’ Birth. Glazer’s direction is also discussed in depth and and the interviewees marvel at how Glazer can capture emotion and feeling in visual images.

Booklet

Finally the DVD is accompanied with a nicely presented booklet featuring rare photographs from the various music video, commercial and film productions. Storyboards, designs and notes are also featured as well as a revealing interview with the director.

Credits (2:50)

The credits for each of the music videos, advertisements and films.

Censorship

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R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The NTSC R1 and PAL R4 are identical in terms of features.

Summary

The DVD compiles almost all of Glazer’s directorial work and the production and design of the DVD reflect the director’s unique vision and talent. Although the DVD is average in terms of picture quality and sound, the collection of rarities and the interviews and commentaries by the artists, cast and crew more then make up for it. An excellent addition to an already impressive DVD series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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