Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Zombie, Zombie: Dolores O'Riordan "Ordinary Day"


Dolores O'Riordan "Ordinary Day"

dir. by Caswell Coggins

In Nicolas Roeg's 1973 film, Don't Look Now, the typically romantic setting of Venice is turned into a chilling environment for supernatural events. A relatively young married couple takes a vacation to Italy after recently losing their only child in a freak drowning accident. Yet once they arrive a series of strange occurrences begin, culminating in the ghostly appearance of their young girl (running through the vacant streets in a creepy red hood).

Director Caswell Coggins sets this spooky video in the equally enchanting alleys of Prague, but it seems to be the tourist off-season once again. In other words, it's anything but an "ordinary day" for ex-Cranberries vocalist Dolores O'Riordan. After (or before) a tumultuous and sleepless night during which she may or may not have been visited by an angry teenage girl, O'Riordan looks out her window in the morning to see a mysterious small girl standing in the middle of an otherwise empty cobblestone road, wearing a bright red jacket. She puts on her trench coat and decides to investigate the increasingly cryptic situation. But as soon as she approaches the girl, she vanishes, and a cross-town chase ensues.

While the lyrics of the song are addressed to a separate person, one gets the sense that O'Riordan is in fact singing to herself. Like Gwen Stefani in "What You Waiting For?," the singer seems to seek personal artistic motivation through memory. The girl that appears in her house late at night could very well be herself at a younger age; spewing the anger and passion that inspires her music now. When she runs through the streets of Prague she is seeking something more internal than external.


The color palette of the video is mostly dull grays and blacks, with the occasional muted green or blue hue seeping in. This makes the eventual appearance of the bright red jacket such an effective moment, albeit a familiar one to fans of horror/thriller films. Collins also switches camera styles between the outdoor and indoor shots, adding a sense of suspense to the chase sequences and creeping around corners in the residence. The characters themselves are deathly pale, and the make-up only reiterates the chilling atmosphere of the clip.

Yet this isn't a scary video by any measure, just one that plays with a traditionally frightful set-up. The fear that is overcome here is an inner fear of responsibility and accepting oneself, rather than a scraggly old demon. As a horror film Don't Look Now hasn't aged particularly well, but as a symbolic journey towards coming to terms with the past, it still has its moments. O'Riordan's video isn't concerned with actually revealing who the little girl in the red coat is (or whether or not she even exists), what matters is the path that the singer is forced to take across this foreign city. Whether or not the artist draws the root of her inspiration from an outside source, in the end she finds her own beauty in the emptiness of that park.



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9 comments:

bandthur said...

I really liked the color palette of this video. Are there any movies that come to mind that have a smiliar color palette?

bandthur said...

Also, I love her voice. It brings back memories to those cranberries days.

Obtusity said...

other than Don't Look Now (which actually isn't that great) a lot of horror films and thrillers come to mind. The Ring had some similar tones, but i can't think of anything else very specific at the moment.

but yeah, definitely feel the cranberries love.

Anonymous said...

The first thing I thought about when I saw this videoclip was the movie "the Village" wich has the same "atmosphere" Girl in Red.

Anonymous said...

I think she rather sings this song to her 'inner child' than to a separate person. I find it very touching so!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bandthur, There is also a scene with similar styling in the recent The Omen remake. The same grey walls & streets, shocked with a bright red hooded character running in the rain. The character, like the one here, is never revealed. But its significance is very much felt.

- Hilmir

Sharifah Norlila said...

never being bored to what dolores wants to tell about humanity in the symbolic way.still it can be translated in many ways but wont be out of the topic of humanity...love her and cranberries too since the day of dreams.....

Birdie said...

I know I'm a year late but I just ran across this. Since Dolores sings this to her own daughter I interpreted the video as her facing the next jump into mother-daughter relations, this time she being the mother and facing her own baggage from her past with her mother. She seems to be chasing the young girl desparately trying to warn her, or protect her. It isn't scary, though, she simply wants to correct any patterns in their relationships going forward. The young woman late at night might be Dolores' mother at a younger age when she 'lost' Dolores. Now both Dolores and the ghost of her mother are hoping to preserve the goodness, the innocence of childhood. Beautiful video, just like Dolores as a person!

Anonymous said...

Eu sei que ninguem vai entender nada mas tudo bem, eu acho que o video está representando o que ela é agora, independente do que ela ja foi, a menina rebelde e confusa da adolosência representada pela jovem pertubada que apareçe e que é deixada para trás quando ela começa a perseguir a ilusão da inocência e fragilidade de uma criança, representada pela meniniha de vermelho que no final do video ela não encontra, engraçado que ela perde essa meniniha em meio as ruas da cidade, lugar onde muita gente perde suas ilusões e inocência. No final termina ela sozinha e acho que isso que ela quer dizer que a garota bonita é ela mesma no momento atual, como se fosse quase uma auto aceitação.

Depth of Focus Videographies: Radiohead / Bjork / Michael Jackson / Bowie