Friday, August 21, 2009

Can You Dig It? Dissecting the "Run This Town" Video

Jay, Kanye and Rihanna are followed by a mid-sized militia, which reminds me of the video for “California Love”:

Which is a direct tribute to Mad Max but also reminds me of the Bronx street gangs in The Warriors:

The video’s director, Anthony Mandler (who also did the videos for Jay’s “Lost Ones” and “D.O.A.”) claims that he was influenced by the rebellious areas of the world, and the street militias that form there (via Examiner):

"There's a tone and feeling to the song, there's a militia, a march and a kind of rambunctious energy to it that, for me, I immediately wanted to tap into. I showed [Jay] some references from the classic rebellious zones of the world. We live in very orderly society in America, but when you get into Brazil, you get into the Middle East, you get into Africa, you get into Eastern Europe, when you get into places like that, there's a different sort of 'we run this town' [going on]. There's less order and more chaos. So we looked at a lot of those references, new photos and historical photos, to capture that kind of falling-apart feeling."

"We wanted you to feel uneasy throughout the piece," he said. "We wanted there to be a constant layer of tension through the piece. Even in the way I shot — where the camera comes by Jay, it doesn't stop on him, it goes to Rihanna — there's kind of this chaos of revealing and covering and concealing. And things happen offscreen that you don't see. I think people are really gonna flip on this.

Plus that chant built into the beat lends itself nicely to crowd scenes! What other influences can you guys spot?

Also: does anyone know whose face is on Kanye’s jacket at 2:52?