Friday, May 04, 2007

The Mounting Sun: Steven Delopoulos "The Ruin of the Beast"

Steven Delopoulos laments the mistakes of a morally blind world, and warns of some impending danger...

Steven Delopoulos "The Ruin of the Beast"

dir. by Cory Godbey and Christopher Koelle

About 18 seconds into "The Ruin of the Beast," the animators pass through a graveyard towards the door of a church marked prominently with a cross. Moments later the "prodigal son" fights atop a hill where we see the same house of worship. Regardless of your Book of Revelation knowledge, the directors clearly set-up Christianity as a foil to the monster which haunts humanity.

Yet it's interesting that prior to discovering Delopoulos's name alongside the tour dates for Jars of Clay, we were ready to interpret this video as anti-Christian. There is a distinct shot of the fallen beast with 10 arms (the beast of revelation is described as having ten horns), but there also seems to be some sympathy for the devil. He is the forgotten and powerful figure who rises from the ashes once society gets smug with its own self-importance. There is even the climactic shot of his "prodigal" return from the Inferno accompanied by the animated musician walking up a hill - as if the two are inherently connected (they sing the bridge together as well).

Unfortunately, the beast doesn't represent the dormant passion of humanity suppressed by religious morality (even if "they banned all seduction" is an ambiguous line). In that opening zoom on the church, through a window we can see the rising sun - and in that sunrise we find the singer with his guitar. He's here to warn us of the coming return of great evil, and make sure we always remember the hand that "molded" us (the only live action moment of the video).

It's a beautifully animated and well-paced work, but we'll admit stained glass and wooden pews fail to excite our hearts and minds. Fear is never as inspiring as hope. Humanity would actually benefit from embracing their animalistic desires, rather than preparing for the coming wrath of a mythological "beast."

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