HAIM - "Valentine"

Started by velociraptor, April 27, 2017, 09:45:40 AM

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This is a music video. Things are supposed to look cool and weird!

But it reminded me that shot from The Mouth Agape, Pialat, 1974.


Spoiler: ShowHide


OK.  I get it now.  April 1st and all...

Paul Thomas Anderson's Best Work — on Video
By Armond White   April 1, 2020 6:30 AM

The best work of critics' darling Paul Thomas Anderson is now available online. Anderson's six music videos, made in collaboration with the California female pop trio Haim, constitute his most emotionally effective filmmaking. [emphasis mine] Unlike his celebrated wannabe-masterpieces There Will Be Blood, The Master, and Phantom Thread, Anderson's Haim videos evince charming creativity, which indie movie aesthetics usually lack. It's surprising that Anderson, of all aesthetes, has revived the music video, a format that has faded into obscurity this millennium.

The Haim sisters — lead vocalist and drummer Danielle, bassist Este, and guitarist Alana — supply the human touch missing from Anderson's hipster caprices. Each young woman personifies the sisterly camaraderie that was faked in Greta Gerwig's forgettable Little Women. (Critic Ben Kessler cited Anderson's videos as a notable alternative to that boutique indie twaddle.) Unlike vapid film actresses, the Haim sisters are what French cineastes called jolie laide — which Americans appreciate as average, relatable, sexy archetypes.

Their harmonious vocal range parallels the hereditary traits that Anderson captures through their physical natures. The newly released Steps and last year's Now I'm in It, two female heartbreak songs styled after Karla Bonoff but with an impudent swing, go from sad to revived — each girl sharing hurt and resilience. Anderson follows their emotional bond, via his unfettered moving camera, through different locations and stages of growth, while they're waitressing, at a car wash, or in a bar.

That's the Haim-Anderson motif. It recalls French director Benoît Jacquot's series of Nineties skirt-chasing movies (A Single Girl, The Disenchanted), but it's expressly Californian, with an effrontery that is part shayna maydel and part pure alternative pop. The usually humorless Anderson evokes the Pixies' light-hearted Alec Eiffel video, taking on the antic quality that has defined pop videos since the Beatles. This probably comes as a surprise to self-serious reviewers who praise Anderson as their cynical neo-Kubrick.

While Anderson's feature films tend to be imponderable (he is the first director to adapt Thomas Pynchon and has made videos for Radiohead, the egghead alt-rock band), his girl-group video work is absolutely emotionally direct, starting with his Fiona Apple collaborations, peaking with her delightful production number Paper Bag (2000). Like Haim's A Little of Your Love, Anderson surpasses everything in Damien Chazzelle's La La Land. His best videos serve the point of shrewd yet gentle female assertion, as in Haim's striptease and proud, bouncy strutting in the Summer Girls video, heading off the #MeToo movement.

Anderson's alt-feminist vision shows the same derivativeness as that of his film-geek peer Quentin Tarantino. Haim's Valentine combines three songs from their first album recorded at LA's Valentine studio — an experiment in real-time illusion that pays homage to Jonathan Demme's New Order video The Perfect Kiss (1985), a landmark of post-punk elegance and cinematic luxe that was photographed by the legendary Henri Alekan. So Anderson shoots Haim using 35mm film for visual depth and sensual texture. In Hallelujah, the group's kaddish for lost friends, Anderson portrays their lament similarly, using live theater devices that have a metaphysical effect.

The art-temple atmosphere of that video is an extension of Robert Altman's last film, A Prairie Home Companion (2006). Anderson, whose filmography shadows all of Altman's movies, was on-set as Altman's insurance back-up, and his Haim videos continue that film's inspiration through Altman's signature mixed-genre approach and, especially, the sisterly theme that Altman established in Prairie Home Companion, Cookie's Fortune, A Wedding, and Kansas City.

Every Anderson-Haim video presents the intimate, familial experience of self-recognition and empathy. While Anderson's feature films encourage exhortations from a nihilistic claque, the little-remarked-upon Haim videos offer welcome emotional accord similar to Altman's example. Though none of Anderson's videos matches the great spiritual, political agit-pop of Mary Lambert's 1989 video for Madonna, Like a Prayer, these images of the Haim sisters sharing one another's burdens nonetheless remind one of our current political needs. Critic Gregory Solman suggested that "if everyone's singing the same key, they're not in harmony." Anderson's videos show how the brunette-to-blonde Haim sisters blend soprano, tenor, and alto voices, physiognomies, and personalities. Visually and musically, they demonstrate varied responses to the same social or intimate condition. In the video Steps, Anderson shows the mundane to be universal while Haim pointedly sings, "If you go left and I go right, hey baby, that's just life sometimes."

These videos are metaphors for the separation and harmony of powers.



Everyday is April Fool's Day for Armond White


Momma Haim (and PTA's art teacher).



How Haim Built Their Long-Running Collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson

QuoteThe rest of your music video filmography is highlighted by your very unique collaborative relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson. How did your relationship start?

Alana: It's a very long story, but I'll give you the CliffsNotes because I don't want to take 45 hours of your time. But what really fast-forwarded our relationship was that our friend Asa Taccone, who's in this band called Electric Guest, was at a party, and we don't get invited to parties, but that's a discussion for another time. But Asa was at a party and he was overhearing Paul talk about these three sisters from the Valley. And Paul loves the Valley as much as we do. I think that really just solidified our relationship. And Asa, who I've known since I was 16 was like, "Are you talking about Haim? Those are my girls." And he was like, "Yes! Haim. Give them my email." And Asa called us the next day and was like, "Yeah, hey, PTA wants me to give you his email. Can you email PTA?" And we're like, "What? What's happening here?" And I think it took us five days to muster up the courage. Half of our thought process was, "This is probably a hoax." And so we finally sent him an email. And then we started emailing each other. And then he invited us over for dinner and we met his whole family. Maya Rudolph is also the most incredible human being of all time.

Este: She's my idol. She really is.

Alana: And we became really close, but we never knew whether we were going to do something together. And then when we were putting Something to Tell You together, Paul visited us in the studio just to hang. He is such a lover of music. And he came and he was like, "Oh, we should film this." And we were like, "What?" And he was like, "This." So that's where Valentine came about. When we were shooting it we had no idea what it was going to be for, what it was going to become.

What has been your experience working with him over these number of years and music videos?

Alana: I mean he's been such a huge part of the last two records. He is just the best cheerleader. He is just so down to bounce ideas off of. It's all very much an open forum.

Este: It also helps that all of his ideas are really good.

How would you describe Paul's approach to your music videos?

Alana: It really just depends on the song. We show Paul everything before we even show our label or management or anyone. Paul's always our first call. With "Summer Girl" I just remember him coming to the studio, and we showed him a bunch of ideas. And we had always loved the song, but it wasn't done yet.

Danielle: We weren't even making an album. We were just in the studio messing around and he just came to listen to stuff and that was the one that stuck out to him. He was like, "Oh, that was cool. It feels like a breath of fresh air." And we started talking about it and he said, "It just feels like that moment where we're about to be in summer, when it's like 103 degrees in the Valley, it's so hot and sticky and you get home from work or from school and you see a pool in the distance and you're just like, 'I need to get in that pool,' and you're taking off all your layers and diving headfirst in the pool." And we were like, "Wait, I fucking love that. How do we do that?"

Alana: "We don't have a pool. How do we do this?" And it really was just, why don't we just run around L.A. and ask for favors. The last shot we did full guerilla-style, no permit, outside on Ventura.

Danielle: In my head the night before I was like, "I'm gonna look so awkward taking off clothes. This is gonna be the most awkward shit ever. But when we're all with Paul and we're walking it through, it just ended up happening in that moment where it felt OK.

Alana: I wish I could tell you that our music videos are planned months in advance but we've never worked that way, especially with this record. Everything has been so spontaneous, flying by the seat of our pants. That's why Paul is so amazing. I don't think we've ever had a Paul music video that's been planned more than a couple days in advance. "In the next four days it has to be out," and he's like, "Alright, let's try something. Let's go."

Is that how Danielle wound up going through a car wash in "Now I'm in It"?

Danielle: That might have been one of the first ideas for that video, where I end up in a car wash. The two main things I remember from "Now I'm In It" was the stretcher and then my sisters helping me get out of this funk with me in a stretcher and going into the car wash to wash it away.

Alana: My knees for the next, like, three months, I felt like a grandma after that because we had to carry Danielle around on a stretcher and I was wearing platform shoes. I was like, "I am in so much pain."

My perception of Paul is only through his body of work. What do you feel is the biggest misconception about him?

Alana: You see these incredible documentaries about these bands in a studio and I've always been like, "Fuck, I want to look like Tom Petty at Sound City [Studios]. I just want to look like that." And I remember seeing Valentine and feeling like he captured something that I honestly don't think anyone has ever been able to capture. We've done so many sessions in studios for various things and I think with Valentine it really did feel like he saw something that no one else had seen before and really captured us as a band. At the end of the day we're a rock band and what he captured—I remember just looking at it and my jaw dropping. He saw something that I have always wanted to see, but I never thought that I would be that person. It just felt like so much bigger than me. I feel so grateful that he likes working with us and wants to work with us and wants to shoot us.

Este: Don't jinx it, Lans.

Interesting that there's no mention of the story I've encountered that--in a very Magnolia-esque way--their Mom turned out to be Paul's art teacher in high school.   :ponder:



Quote from: Alma on October 06, 2020, 03:29:24 PM
New vid tomorrow. Not sure when they managed to fit that in.


I like to imagine that between set ups on Soggy Bottom Paul was just like hey lets do a video.


Probably when they shot the cover. The album was delayed due to, you know, coronavirus.

I actually like that song! Hyped.


I wonder what are the chances they will write an original song (or even the whole soundtrack) for "Soggy Bottom".


Quote from: pynchonikon on October 06, 2020, 03:41:04 PM
I wonder what are the chances they will write an original song (or even the whole soundtrack) for "Soggy Bottom".

That would be the sign that he's lost his mind.


Jeremy Blackman

I'm not even a Haim fan but I actually kind of like this a lot.


a) I'm wondering if that first guy is a crew member that lost a bet.

b) If she really worked in a deli, she'd have much better paper-tearing skills.


One wonders if she's ever had to work a legit "Joe" job before.


Quote from: wilberfan on October 07, 2020, 01:49:27 PM
a) I'm wondering if that first guy is a crew member that lost a bet.

b) If she really worked in a deli, she'd have much better paper-tearing skills.

Lol I was thinking the same thing about the paper tearing.

For a video clearly tossed off during the day of the photo shoot I liked it well enough