Back when MTV was in its infancy and the cable landscape was dotted with shows devoted to off-kilter music videos, the kinds of clips that are now shown every year in the Los Angeles Film Festival’s Eclectic Mix programs had at least some hope of national airplay. Now, with a handful of exceptions, they’re like rare art pieces destined to be seen by a precious few, and LAFF is the envelope-pushing museum hosting the exhibition. Both of this year’s programs are filled with surreal, ironic, computer-effects-laden fare that’s clearly low budget but just as clearly sprung from febrile imaginations not reined in by the demands of the major record labels’ bottom lines. The David Fincher and Nine Inch Nails collaboration “Only,” and the stark, biting anti-Bush politics of Juvenile’s love letter to post-Katrina New Orleans, “Get Your Hustle On,” contribute to the bite of “Eclectic Mix No. 1.” In the even stronger “Eclectic Mix No. 2,” director Joaquin Phoenix anchors She Wants Revenge’s grainy, moody “Tear You Apart,” with a mysterious heroine in a clip that recalls The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. Beck sends another mash note to Los Angeles with the city-crawling images of “Girl,” and Michel Gondry tosses many of his signature tricks (Lewis Carroll-esque shrinking and expanding rooms and mazes; a teeny car for traveling) in the White Stripes’ “The Denial Twist.” Also be sure to check out “Weapons of Choice: The Music Videos of Fatboy Slim,” a greatest-hits program that goes along nicely with his recently released CD retrospective.
“Eclectic Mix No. 1” screens Sun., June 25, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., July 1, noon; at the Italian Cultural Institute.
“Eclectic Mix No. 2” screens Sun., June 25, noon; Fri., June 30, 10:15 p.m.; at the Italian Cultural Institute.
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“Weapons of Choice: The Music Videos of Fatboy Slim” screens Mon., June 26, 9:30 p.m., at the UCLA James Bridges Theater; and Sat, July 1, 2:15 p.m., at the Italian Cultural Institute.