Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Draught of Vintage: Stephanie Dosen "This Joy"

This elegant combination of song and video is shattering in its evanescent beauty...

Stephanie Dosen "This Joy"

dir. by Dan Sully

The video begins in black and white, with a small bird taking flight within its cage. Stephanie Dosen sings of the "midnight darkness" being "nearly through" and her love staying "true," as her hand pensively traces the arms of her chair. The wall behind her springs to life just as she reaches the line, "it's going to be taking me over/ this joy, this joy." The screen is colored but so is Dosen, her smile's infectious and her sincerity illuminates the room.

Director Dan Sully uses deep close-ups, understated colors and slow motion to really let the beauty of the words fully bloom. The animated wallpaper is also a nice touch, and when it switches from a cage above Dosen's head to a print of leafy vines, it directly connects the singer to the birds who wish for freedom. Yet it's only a momentary experience; a step through doors into the light of an adjacent room. Dosen is covered alternately by shadows and bright lamps throughout the video.

Like those people lost in a trance dancing to the music, Dosen shines in the middle of the crowd overcome with her fleeting joy. Represented in that one shot is youth, love, and happiness - all things brief and beautiful. She sings that her heart is filled with light like a "constellation" in the sky, and the disco ball above reflects her joy on all those around.

The video and the song build brilliantly toward these choruses (the first one is especially breathtaking), which themselves are microcosms of the experience Dosen narrates - "it's like an hallelujah." The final shots are back in the black & white of the opening, and we may question why after such elation it ends in darkness. Sudden overwhelming bliss is a rare occurrence in life, but as Dosen reminds us - no matter how deep you float in the night, the sun will always rise. It's the contrast that moves us to jubilance.

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