11 March 2013

The form and constructs that delineate a difference between short films and music videos has been fuelled by debate and value judgements. 

Acclaimed director Derek Jarman didn't seem too fussed about these connotations when creating his short films and music videos often blurring the line between the two and questioning whether the line even existed through explicit questioning of form, shot through the lens of ethnographic sub-culture studies, initially focussing on the punk movement.

Jarman's music videos showcase a number of traits that the medium would come to embrace; a heightened sense of excessive style, verging on what could be deemed as camp and an embracing of independent sub-culture fashion as a criterion for cool.  The interesting factor that brings these together is that these aren't simply explorations into new territory for the sake of it but an osmosis of Jarman's natural filmmaking aesthetics into the new medium.

The rich and luscious visuals of Caravaggio (1986) and Edward II (1991) naturally translate to videos for It's A Sin and Rent by the Pet Shop Boys (both 1987) while the androgynous, surreal experimentation of Jubilee (1978) fits well into videos for Ask, The Queen Is Dead and Panic by The Smiths (all 1986).

Jarman may have defined many aspects of what is now typical in music videos but few directors can lay claim to have made what could be considered a feature length music video (War Requiem (1989)) proving that this fast evolving, effusive medium was a perfect blank canvas for the innovative artist ready to cut lose the shackles of cinematic formalisThe Am.

Jarman's video for Marianne Faithfull's Broken English features in the Dancing of Politics section in The Art of Pop Video exhibition at FACT 14 March - 26 May.

Read the full article at Celluloid Wicker Man.