10. James “Moving On”
James hit the Best of 2014 list at number 10. The video for their song “Moving On” is animated using only string. It tells the tale of one person dying and another being born. As the person dying is passing away, their foot starts to unravel and as the string is pulled up off of screen. The relative who can’t let go grabs the string and pulls it down but the leg doesn’t form, rather the string just remains unwound. It’s a touching scene as you watch the one hold the other as he or she completely unwinds culminating with just a little circle of string being held in hands. I really like the way the hands came out. It’s not all completely sad, because the other end of this video is a female string person dancing and pulling on string that winds into a baby. The cycle of life and death connects all people in ways we don’t always see, and several we may never know about. This animated video is an excellent representation of how a life begins and ends.
09. Son Lux “Easy”
The centerpiece of the video for Son Lux’s “Easy” video is artist Carolyn Weltman. Shot in black and white we see Weltman sitting on a beach looking at photographs of her youth. You can see by her eyes that she is lost in thought perusing through the memories that roll in like the waves. We also see her as she’s working. A model is tied up in various bondage positions as Weltman draws in charcoal. The camera closes in on the ropes wrapped around flesh, and we see the imprint from them on areas no longer bound. High heels, underwear and a bra are all the model is wearing which will immediately set of tones of sex, but there’s more here. It’s the texture of the rope on smooth skin. It’s the way the knots invoke images of sailors tying knots on boats. It’s the journey from one end of rope to other. Life binds us the same, wrapped around our torso. We bare the marks of life on ourselves and often find ourselves in uncomfortable situations. The model here is just posing, but hanging upside down or with your legs spread apart and tied to a pole can hardly be construed as easy. It’s not meant to be, and neither is life.
08. Bombay Bicycle Club “Luna”
Bombay Bicycle Club took to the swimming pool for their “Luna” video. We follow a synchronized swim team from practice to performance. It starts with the girls in their bathing suits walking out, posing, and diving in. What follows the majesty of a duck. We’ve all seen ducks swimming and they look so peaceful gliding on the surface. Underneath, their legs are ferociously kicking. It’s the same thing here. When the camera dips below the surface we see all the kick and flailing of feet and hands as the swimmers prop themselves up, twist, turn, even dive to hold the poses necessary. The best parts of this video are when the camera goes under water and upside down. One particularly striking visual has the girls submerged and upside down, though to the camera they look right side up as though on tip toes. The reflection of them on the underside of the surface with its wavy texture is magical. It also shows the wonder of light and water. Underneath, it’s as though the water has no distortion of light. But at the surface, it’s all bent and fluid.
07. Zinc “Show Me”
The work put into the video for “Show Me” by Zinc was impressive. We follow a trio of dancers performing in front of a mirror. Nothing big about this, until the camera steps through the mirror, around the back of the mirror images, and we see these reverse dancers dancing in front of their reflection. That sentence is jumble, which is what your mind does when you first realize there isn’t a mirror at all. It’s a set designed to look like it has a mirror. So, everything is in pairs. There are not three dancers, but six. There are two cameramen. The whole performance is done in sync. That’s pretty amazing. The job by dancers Aya Sato and Bambi in mirroring each other is fantastic.
06. Trentemøller featuring Jana Hunter “Gravity”
Trentemøller’s video for “Gravity” featuring Jana Hunter could make for a fine full length movie. The man in the video is trying to make money by offering a carpool service. Every morning he dons a suit and walks out to the freeway on ramp. Here he holds up a sign offering his service for $10. What do you get for that fee? Drivers get a buddy in the car so they can legally take the carpool lane. This isn’t exactly a legal service, but there’s no real harm here. It’s kind of like hithchiking but only going back and forth, not across the country. As a result, we follow the man as he meets some interesting people. One of which is a woman he seems to hit it off with. That’s what makes the ending so good. After he finishes getting her to where she needs to be he takes a couple more rides. His last ride? Well, that would be the woman he hit it off with. She rolls up, and this time it’s likely not a business trip.