Thursday, August 02, 2007

Some Ugly As Well: The Good, The Bad and the Queen "The Good, The Bad and the Queen"

The Good, The Bad and the Queen "The Good, The Bad and the Queen"

dir. by Stephen Pook

The rising pulse of the music works wonderfully with the brilliantly edited film - splitting apart and turning psychedelic at just the right moment - but it's the content of the images which poses a problem in interpreting this video. On the one hand it seems the director intends to capture the mysterious and mesmerizing spirit of this Sufi religious gathering, using the spiritual experiences of these men to attribute some transcendent power to the music, and subsequently the video itself. Yet as one astute YouTube member so eloquently described it, it also comes off as "Hindu hippies rockin round the Beep man!!!"

The director needn't be concerned with correctly representing each person's religious affiliations (it is actually possible that these men are indeed Hindu, as some Hindus practice or incorporate Sufi traditions), but there does seem to be some problematic objectification of the "other" underlining the final product. Would this video work if the men weren't specifically pot-smoking brown-skinned people? The psychedlia of the finale seems to reference the surge in interest during the hippie movement of the 60's in Indian culture and religion. Yet it's a vague and superficial sort of interest - only by keeping the culture at a mysterious ("spiritual") distance can we sit back and enjoy observing these people as symbols or caricatures of the unknown.

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