new_pornographers_champions_of_red_wine 2Stolen Shots is a column in which our bud, fellow director Caleb Jackson picks apart some music videos that we love. Check out what he’s got to say, because it’s awesome.

You know “that guy” who is so jaded and pathetic that you just want to be around him out of sheer curiosity? We all know that guy, and he’s our subject of focus in The New Pornographers’ “Champions of Red Wine” video. Here, he wanders around the streets of Cuba, looking for something, though we don’t know what. Seemingly stuck on a stagnant journey, he expresses his numbness by picking a fight with a cabaret bartender, only to sober up when some street kids show him the man in the mirror. Somehow seeing a physical representation of himself seems to do something to him, realizing the need for change. It’s almost like he’s being baptized, leaving his old ways behind. It’s sad when we see him pass his muse on the beach as she waves to him, but then again, it feels like he’s on to bigger and better things.

From the get-go, you can tell that there is a deeper story to the character, driving us to wonder what his relationship is with the muse he stares at from behind sheltered glass. Mere object of lust, daughter, or lover in another life? Whatever it is, he’s got some kind of deep attachment to her that she seems to be subconsciously nurturing. The actress seems to be on a standstill as well – she’s content with her existence, but when the guy passes her by, it feels like she’s missing something. I’ve seen the other Leblanc and Cudmore video for The New Pornographers (Dancehall Domine), and though it’s definitely a fun visual experiment, it makes me happy to see them use their narrative talents on this latest track – they can astound on a dually visual and conceptual level.

The writing and acting of Leblanc and Cudmore’s characters in “Champions of Red Wine” drove me into an obsession over their other videos, so I’ll use this space to point out a few others. Their work on Absolutely Free’s “Vision’s” is some of the most impressive visual effects manipulation I’ve ever seen. On a narrative level, they pack so much in, and really get you invested in the characters. Fucked Up’s “Queen of Hearts” is an incredibly impressive work, combining meta-narrative, amazing steadicam work, and a really amazing aura of mystery (make Part 2 please!). Lastly, I also have to mention the super fun and unabashedly violent Alt-J video for “Left Hand Free, v.2”. If you liked Spring Breakers, you’ll LOVE this. (You probably didn’t, but you’ll love it anyway.)


Caleb Jackson is a director/writer/producer at Felt Film. He’s got some more music video reviews at Lowlyer and Imvdb.