Friday, April 27, 2007

We Drink Tonight: Beirut "Elephant Gun"

Highly anticipated video delivers with sweeping choreography and surreal imagery of disconnect...

Beirut "Elephant Gun" (Hi-Res)

dir. by Alma Har'el

Beginning with an ornately drawn compass, Alma Har'el's lavish video for "Elephant Gun" is very much a study of travel, distance and home. Which makes sense when you consider Beirut, a band whose very sound evokes far away lands and an acute feeling of wanderlust. It's also no coincidence then that the song begins with the lyric, "If I was young, I'd flee this town."

Zach Condon's voice expresses a loneliness amongst the crowd of revelers who move beautifully around him. The walls are plastered with maps that lead elsewhere - perhaps to solitary oceans - but here he is with bottles of liquor, beautiful women and the temptations of extravagance. One imagines Condon's characters mingling with Gatsby or Hemmingway's lot in The Sun Also Rises - people who drown their sorrow in excess and life amid the foreign and unknown.

There is beauty in this strangely erotic room, and no doubt most of its residents are enjoying themselves. There is something sublime in "letting the seasons begin" and completely embracing the energy of the moment - the lust, the drinks and the music. But the look on Condon's face is the clue to everything he hides inside - the bored desperation of his dreams comes pouring out the weary notes of his trumpet. He can live in distraction or follow the postcards on the wall, but either way a life of escapism will leave one unfulfilled - dragging empty cans along the beach.

4 comments:

Yusuf said...

The imagery is amazing in this video, fits perfectly with the song. I was gonna recommend that you write about it, hah.

Obtusity said...

yeah i've noticed new things on subsequent viewings - like when it cuts back from the ocean to the room, you can still see the wind blowing his hair, as if the music is literally transporting him somewhere else. i think maybe the video wants to present music as the only authentic outlet for emotion in this place.

Kevin said...

The more I watch this video, the more it gives me the feeling that Condon's drowning in a sea of ecstacy. That amidst all of the good times, booze, and partying, he feels depressingly alone and without anything to truly connect with. Kinda a downward spiral, like, "I could of gotten out of it while I was young, but now I'm in to deep, and I can only dreem about getting out".

Goodfortonight said...

In one of Condon's latest interviews produced by viddinet.com set at his new home in the out skirts of Brooklyn, he talks about his need for a home base, as not to be so "lost in the world" anymore. His costume was based of a safari guide idea, which became more elaborate for the video, perhaps influenced by older french culture...

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