I have been getting into experimental filmmaking recently. Although I don’t know a great deal about the movie industry, it is perhaps fair to say audience for these pictures is niche, to put it favorably. Unlike music, where artists have bridged the technology gap and can more easily self-release professional grade material, the lack of strong studio backing for unconventional films leaves filmmakers with limited budgets and crews, making the process much more difficult.
But, one intriguing aspect about experimental film techniques is their rather widespread use and general acceptance in music videos. This is true even when the underlying song doesn’t seem to require such an unusual interpretation. Interestingly enough, mainstream audiences seem to be totally accepting of the fact that these videos may have little to no coherence, contain extreme visual effects, and utilize unconventional camera work. In fact, it often seems like weirder has always been perceived as better when it comes to music videos. And yet, very few would sit through a two hour movie that unfolded like this, even if every scene was just as compelling. Why is that?
I’m not totally sure. Perhaps it is due to the inherent brevity of the music video, as this type of sensory barrage can become exhausting. Or, maybe we rely on the music to bring some level of grounding to the chaos on screen. It could also be that music videos aren’t really a commodity in themselves, and are often looked at as serving as a means to encouraging purchase of the music. Lastly, it might very well be that we have simply become so accustomed to the comfort and predictability that comes with Hollywood pictures and, as a result, we just aren’t looking to be challenged in that way when we go to the movies (I cover this interesting entertainment v. art discussion in another post).
Regardless, it is really great that this kind of creative freedom does exist in at least one mainstream format.