Thursday, June 18, 2015

Simple Minds "Don't You (Forget About Me)" video

The video to the much-heralded "Don't You (Forget About Me)" won't win many awards (nor should it), but it is an admirable attempt at 'creating more with less' on a shoestring budget.  The #1 charter by the Simple Minds has been described as "The" New Wave song, as well as being the "anthem" and "centerpiece" of the '80s soundtrack.  Thus the video itself is viewed as more a mechanism to its nostalgia I suppose.

On the creative inspiration, video director Daniel Kleinman noted:

In the ’80s I was doing a lot of music videos, and I’d also done a couple of music videos that incorporated movies. So I didn’t actively pursue “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” I got sent the track and wrote an idea for it. But weirdly what got made wasn’t actually my first idea. I was going to do something like a Northern English realist film about a man coming home to his roots after being away for a long time. I was going to make it shot like a documentary style and very emotive and whatever. I think a couple of the problems, one was originally, they weren’t very interested in having any footage of The Breakfast Club in the video. Then subsequently, I found out that it was really important that there was quite a lot of the film in the video.

So that didn’t really fit with my original idea, and it was a timing issue, so I had to come up with another idea very quickly which is what ended up getting made. It’s a kind of surreal idea but originally, my thought was based on a photo I saw, of someone standing in front of every single thing they’d ever bought in their entire life. So starting out with stuff with your parents buy for you when you’re a kid and then stuff you buy when you’re a young school kid and then a teenager and then as you get older, and what you buy to put in a house. I thought what happens if you’re in a room and this room starts filling up with all the stuff that you buy over your entire life?

The video "takes place on a dancing floor in a dark room with a chandelier, a rocking horse and television sets, displaying scenes from The Breakfast Club."  And John Leland from Spin accurately pointed out, "'Don't You Forget About Me,' a romantic and melancholy dance track, therefore cuts ice both in the living room and on the dance floor."

However, the irony is the film clips from the movie are included far less than Daniel Kleinman suggested at the time.  Some of it most memorable moments are interspersed on random tv sets, but what attributes the video has is in its direction.  The video is plotless and nonsensical, but technically band members are in the background while frontman Jim Kerr is in the foreground to a panoramic lens.  There are cuts & fades, high-low shots, and long shots followed by zoom-ins.  Junk items (antiques?) are thrown everywhere.  I imagine it to be one of the most tedious videos ever to make in the studio, but its artistic merit is with the camera and editing.  Just about every trick in the book is employed here.  It is creative in its minimalism, and its attention to space is phenomenal.  It won't ever rise on the level of the movie's soundtrack, nor should it, but given the context of what the director is working with, it is a prime example again of how shoestring budgeted projects produce some of the best results because they force you to be more creative. 

So 'Don't You (Forget About Me).'  Grade: B



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