Los Angeles Film Festival: I Want My MTV 

Fest’s music-video showcase takes things back to basics

Wednesday, Jun 17 2009

As the music industry wheezes on life support, musicians (particularly indie artists across different genres) draw inspiration from the rough-scrabble early days of MTV, when music videos were: (a) actually programmed; and (b) an aesthetic hodgepodge drawn from DIY necessity, the self-conscious referencing of freshly minted art- and film-school educations and cross-cultural scavenging. This year’s Eclectic Mix programs, among the finest LAFF has programmed, are filled with music clips that find that old-school template in full effect. Oren Lavie’s aptly named “Her Morning Elegance” (directed by Lavie himself) glides through a dreamscape played out against a white-sheeted bed, with human bodies, pillows, clothing and instruments moving in hypnotic stop-motion as the song plays. The dazzling Afro-futurism of Gnarls Barkley’s “Going On” (directed by Wendy Morgan) fuses tribal face paint, skinny jeans, suspenders and hoop earrings to evoke Africa, Jamaica and global black youth culture, its barren outdoor settings conjuring both desolate shantytowns and bombed-out urban centers. Paris-based electronic-music duo Justice’s hugely controversial clip, “Stress” (directed by Romain Gavras), in which a gang of young housing-project males “of color” prowls city streets in an escalating rampage of violence, assaults the viewer relentlessly; it’s easy to see why it elicited furious cries of racism when it was released in France last year. While a few efforts beg the question of their inclusion, this year’s programmed videos mostly range from gorgeously cinematic to cheekily homemade, often within the same three-minute running time. Other highlights: Feist’s “Honey, Honey”; Pistol Youth’s Golden Girls homage, “In My Eyes”; Langhorne Slim’s “Restless”; Depeche Mode’s “Wrong”; Tapes n’ Tapes’ “Hang Them All”; MGMT’s “Electric Feel”; Modest Mouse’s “Little Motel”; and Gnarls Barkley’s “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul.” Eclectic Mix 1 screens at the Italian Cultural Institute on Saturday, June 20 at 7 p.m., and at the Landmark on Sunday, June 28 at 5 p.m. Eclectic Mix 2 screens at the Italian Cultural Institute on Saturday, June 20 at 9:30 p.m., and at the Landmark on Sunday, June 28 at 7:15 p.m.

click to enlarge Going on
  • Going on

Related Stories

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Thu 10
  2. Fri 11
  3. Sat 12
  4. Sun 13
  5. Mon 14
  6. Tue 15
  7. Wed 16

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!


  • 10 Movies You Should See This Summer
    The phrase "summer movies" will never not mean broad, action-driven crowd-pleasers to me: I counted the days until Batman (June 23, 1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (July 3, 1991), and Jurassic Park (June 11, 1993) were released. For every Dark Knight there are 10 Prometheuses — and that's just among the films that are actually trying to be good — but the hype and anticipation of summer movies remains a fun spectator sport. (More fun than sports, anyway.) Here, 10 from Memorial Day weekend and after for which I have, as the song says, high hopes. By Chris Klimek
  • Doc Docs: 8 Powerful Medical Documentaries
    Code Black is the latest in a string of powerful documentaries examining the domestic health care system's flaws and profiling its physicians, caretakers and patients. In this film -- which will be released in select theaters on June 20 -- the cameras are pointed at the nation's busiest emergency room, that of L.A. County Hospital. Here are seven moving medical docs. Click on the film name to read the full review.

    See also:
    35 Music Documentaries Worth Seeing

    15 Documentaries That Help You Understand the World Right Now
  • Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel in Lego
    A Lego replica of The Grand Budapest Hotel was unveiled this past Saturday, June 14, by builder Ryan Ziegelbauer and star of the film Tony Revolori at The Grove in L.A. Ziegelbaur and his team built the 7-foot, 150-pound structure from over 50,000 Lego bricks. The celebration was held in honor of the Blu-Ray and DVD release of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel on June 17th by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. All photos by Mary Bove.

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending