The Work of Director-Stephane Sednaoui (2005)

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Released 24-Jan-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Animation & Audio
Short Film-Walk On The Wild Side
Short Film-Army Of Me (Animation)
Short Film-Acqua Natasa
Short Film-Reve Reche
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Stephane's presentation at New York University Film School
Booklet-Diary of photos, storyboards, sketches and comments
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 84:48
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stephane Sednaoui
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Mirwais Ahmadzaï
Björk
Bono
Peter Buck
Jeff Cease
Neneh Cherry
Adam Clayton
Johnny Colt
Robert del Naja
Duke Erikson
Flea
John Frusciante
Steve Gorman
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


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

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Plot Synopsis

French director and fashion photographer Stéphane Sednaoui is the subject of the seventh volume of The Directors Label series. Sednaoui has directed 50 music videos since 1990 and his most high-profile music video directorial work has been compiled on this DVD. This includes the renowned music videos for artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Björk, U2, R.E.M. Youssou N’Dour, Massive Attack and Tricky.

Sednaoui’s music videos are centred on simple yet inspired ideas which work with the music by allowing the camera to participate in the performance. For example the music video for Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers features the band forsaken in the desert, dressed in chain mail and other oddities with unique hairstyles giving an animated performance of the title song. Likewise the camera follows suit by manically zooming in and out on the band members as they sing and perform. The camera is not still and simply filming a routine performance rather it is in the middle of the action, participating in the on screen drama. The music video for Scar Tissue also by Red Hot Chili Peppers is also included on this DVD and is considered to be the pseudo sequel to Give It Away.

Similarly the two music videos for Big Time Sensuality see a vibrant Björk dancing and singing on the back of a truck moving through the chaotic streets of New York during day and night time. The camera again focuses on the artist’s expressive performance of the song and is complicit in the action. The videos have since been parodied on French & Saunders and marked Björk’s first international success. Possibly Maybe also by Björk is also included on this DVD. Sednaoui’s music video for U2’s Mysterious Ways uses special effects which warp the visuals and see the band in exotic Moroccan locations performing the song interspersed with shots of a belly dancer. The distorted imagery works well with the music. On the other hand the unique video for Discothèque saw Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. dressed up as members of The Village People and marked the band’s first use of electronic music. Other music videos included on this release are Tricky’s For Real, Pumpkin and Hell is Around the Corner, Massive Attack’s Sly, Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry's Seven Seconds, R.E.M.’s Lotus and Alanis Morisette’s Ironic. Each of these music videos embraces the spirit of the different music genres as Sednaoui seems to be in awe of his performers, as he captures expressive eyes, movement of the mouth and distortion of the body. Queer by Garbage is also included uncut on this DVD as well as an early video for NTM and the bizarre videos for Mirwais.

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Track Listing

1. I Can't Wait - Mirwais
2. For Real- Tricky
3. Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. Disco Science - Mirwais
5. Lotus - R.E.M.
6. Possibly Maybe - Björk
7. Ironic - Alanis Morissette
8. Pumpkin - Tricky
9. Queer - Garbage
10. Hell is Around the Corner - Tricky
11. Sly - Massive Attack
12. Seven Seconds - Youssou N'Dour
13. Big Time Sensuality - Björk
14. Big Time Sensuality (alt) - Björk
15. Sometimes Salvation -The Black...
16. Mysterious Ways - U2
17. Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Pepper
18. Le Monde De Demain - NTM
19. Discoteque (dir. cut) - U2

Transfer Quality

Video

The good news is the following music videos are presented in 16x9 enhanced, 1.78:1 wide-screen; Massive Attack’s Sly, Tricky’s For Real, Alanis Morisette’s Ironic, the director’s cut of U2’s Discothèque, Björk’s Possibly Maybe and Mirwais’ Disco Science . The other music videos are presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, the same ratio in which they were originally broadcast on television. Overall the quality of the transfer is quite good. Black levels are fine as seen in the polished music video for Mirwais’ Disco Science. The early black and white videos for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Björk are clear and have existent film grain as intended by the director. Skin tones and shadow detail are also clear and defined. The music videos have been encoded at an average bit-rate of 6.25 Mbps and this high bit rate accounts for the above average picture quality on the single-sided, single-layer DVD. There are no subtitle features for the music videos.

Video Ratings Summary
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Audio

The single audio Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is clear and suited to the genre of the music video. There are no encoding errors. Tricky’s Hell is Around the Corner does incur crackle and pops but this is artistically intended and the song remains clear and audible. Surround sound and subwoofer usage is limited but overall a pleasing and suitable soundtrack considering the type of content on this DVD.

Audio Ratings Summary
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Extras

Main Menu Animation and Audio

The 16x9 enhanced main menu is scored with a section of Mirwais’s I Can’t Wait and is clear and functional. There are two viewing options regarding the music videos, either view them in the director’s preferred order or by chronological order.

Short Films

Acqua Natassa – Featuring Natasa Vojnovic (5:15)

This video installation combines CGI with underwater filming to create the image of a young woman drowning. The dreamlike imagery and the electronic score are beautifully bewildering.

Army of Me – Animation Inspired by Björk song (4:45)

The black and white CGI animation creates an image of Björk singing the title song controlling her surrounding environment. The themes of the songs are explored through demonic imagery and livid weather conditions.

Walk on the Wild Side – Short Film Inspired by Lou Reed’s song (9:58)

The short film begins with an image of Reed against an urban industrialist landscape viewing those who exist on the fringe of society. We then follow the lives of the characters as they travel to New York. The short film exhibits how Sednaoui is able to successfully visualise the thematic concerns and the textures of a song and is able to balance images and lyrics, creating one single element.

Reve Reche – Sednaoui’s first attempt at a short film with music (3:10) (Available to view with or without director’s commentary).

The short film begins with a title card which tells the audience that Sednaoui believes his first short film was a failure and he only includes it on this DVD to show that one disappointment does not account for the failure of one’s whole career. Like any student film the intentions were grand but unfortunately the director’s first film is incoherent. Sednaoui himself on the commentary claims he doesn’t even remember the narrative other than it is a zombie film set in a graveyard.

Interviews

Interviews (34:59)

This black and white feature includes interviews with Bono, Björk, Flea, Michael Stipe, Shirley Manson, Tricky and Stéphane Sednaoui all discussing their music video collaborations in depth. The feature details what the artists expected and how Sednaoui saw the individual songs. All the artists find Sednaoui to be directing with his emotions rather then with his mind and they find this approach refreshing and inspiring. Optional subtitles can be accessed for this feature

NYU Presentation (19:25)

Stéphane Sednaoui discusses his career by answering questions from students. The director shares his experiences with the students regarding his start in the business to his improvisational directing style to what music inspires him and how he develops ideas for his music videos. Sednaoui speaks frankly and engages with the audience. The feature is filmed in black and white and contains scene excerpts in colour from the music videos discussed. Optional subtitles can be accessed for this feature

Booklet

The booklet features rare photographs from the music video productions with dates, locations and details written by Sednaoui. Treatments, designs and storyboards are also included and overall the booklet is a nice accompaniment to the DVD.

Music Video and Short Film Credits (3:34)

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 varied selection of music videos give a great insight into the style of Stéphane Sednaoui. The audio option is suitable and picture quality is very good while the in-depth extras go behind the scenes to demonstrate the amount of work and inspiration needed to create a music video that will satisfy the the artist's integrity and talent and the record company's appetite for marketing and promotion. This is volume seven and is the latest volume in the series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Thursday, March 08, 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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