Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MV Director Spotlight : Chris Hopewell


Dark, quirky, funny, sometimes campy and always deliciously British. That is perhaps the best quick and dirty executive summary that I could give you for UK's own Chris Hopewell.

Hopewell's name may not be as readily recognizable in the states as the aforementioned Mark Romanek (who , himself , is something of a master at lending artful quirkiness to his videos).

However, Hopewell's work in increasingly getting more and more attention in the states and worldwide. His music videos tend to reflect a darker, brooding British perspective that is undercut with a lot of irony and kitch (kind of like any original recipe Peter Gabriel-era Genesis track). There often seems to be a gloominess to his visuals overall, but even within the gloom there is a definite sense of humor.

Also, I absolutely love his use of color , textures and animation in his work. His videos often read as odd fairy tales gone gloriously wrong (which is a sentiment that I can sort of relate to. ;)

I first fell in love with Hopewell's work after seeing Radiohead's epic "There, There" for the first time. That video (which still happens to be one of my all-time favorites from ANY director) never ceases to blow my mind each time I watch it.

Granted, some of the techniques emloyed in that particular video (especially in regards to animation) are pretty old hat at this point. However, I believe that (coupled with the dark 'Alice and Wonerland' vibe that's going on) is part of that video's charm. I've read that the concept for that particuar video came from a poplar British kid show that lead singer Thom Yorke and his daughter watch called 'Bagpuss'. Hopewell certainly paired a certain whimsy in this video that would be associated with happy fairy tales and kids stories with a certain amount of darkness . The end result was not only incredibly effective but completely mesmerizing to watch.

Another Hopewell video that happens to be a particular favorite of mine is "Dark of the Matinee" by Franz Ferdinand. ;)

On that note, let's check out "There, There", "Dark of the Matinee", and a few of the other gems in Chris Hopewell's arsenal:


Radiohead -- "There There" (2003)




Franz Ferdinand -- "Dark of the Matinee" (2004)




Persephone's Bees -- "Nice Day" (2005)




Mylo -- "Destroy Rock n' Roll" (2005)




The Offspring -- "You're Gonna Go Far Kid" (2008)






1 comment:

  1. didnt know that franz ferdinand and radiohead were known over the pond? amazing article, really enjoyed reading it and picked up some more knowledge on a director of some great videos. So well written.

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