In MTV’s halcyon days, before pimped rides, real worlds and big-budget awards shows, the videos they programmed often gleamed with a joyful ineptitude. Music-clip formula was far on the horizon, and naiveté was conjoined with a gleeful raiding of experimental-film history and art-student precocity. Though the “ineptitude” and “naiveté” showcased in the Los Angeles Film Festival’s “Eclectic Mix” programs are more tongue-in-cheek and coolly studied, what these more than three dozen music shorts have in common is a palpable sense of individuality and indifference to the reigning templates of expression. Highlights include Fluorescent Hill’s surreal, acid-trippy “12 Days of Christmas” for the band Taking Back Sunday, in which a gift-giver’s obsession with fowl is drolly illustrated, and then punctuated with non sequitur riffs on Danny Bonaduce; Jon Watts’ crinkly, weathered homage to silent movies and the horror genre in his clip “Wolf Like Me” for indie darlings TV on the Radio; and Daniel Levi’s work on Plan B’s “No Good,” a claymation and stop-motion nod to Peter Gabriel’s classic “Sledgehammer” video. Big-name directors like Joseph Kahn, Roman Coppola and Michel Gondry all have new work here, as does Melodie McDaniel, who was the next big thing a few years ago (she directed Madonna’s “Secret” video) before vanishing. What’s especially refreshing are the representations of black folk: Asif Mian’s politically charged “Trilogy” for the Roots; the aforementioned TV on the Radio; the spoofing of Dick Cheney in Jurassic 5’s “Work It Out”; and two clips from Canadian rapper k-os, who, in “ElectriK Heat: The Seekwill,” is a skater boy/bike dude roaming through suburbia as b-boying and deejaying take place around him, while in “Sunday Morning,” Afro-punks, white and black hipsters, and ghetto prom queens all gyrate to the same pounding beat.
“Eclectic Mix 1” screens Sun., June 24, 1 p.m., and Thurs., June 28, 7:30 p.m., at the Italian Cultural Institute. “Eclectic Mix 2” screens Sat., June 23, 12:45 p.m., at Landmark’s Regent and Sun., July 1, 3 p.m., at the Italian Cultural Institute. “Turn Into: The Music Videos of Patrick Daughters”screens Sun., June 24, 3:30 p.m., at the Italian Cultural Institute and Mon., June 25, 9:45 p.m., at the Landmark.
Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes