The future of visual remixes

Some days I want to remix everything. I’ve been like that for 40+ years (for me) and now the technology makes it easy to do.*

It started with music. After a few listens to a track I always want another version. Am I a creative megalomaniac? Not really it’s just that I can hear other arrangements in music and now it’s the same with movies. I’ve managed to keep my imagination alive and creating. Sure, I’ve been a film buff for a long time but analog recordings of film or music are much harder to edit and rearrange. Digital makes it possible.

Now my daughter is a whiz on garageband and making and creating whole universes in a game is just something all the kids do. It turns out there are some great remixes on YT but first the trigger for my post today is that I watched A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) which is in the NZ International film festival this year.

I can see why but I felt the same way I did when I first watched The Color of Pomegranates (1969) sometime in the 80’s. Tape technology then let me watch it on fast forward and yes I was a peasant for doing that but life was different then. Note: I see a restored print of that film is in also in the festival this year. I did want to fast forward parts of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

agirlwalks1A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) is filmed in delicious black & white. The dialogue is in Farsi and the vampire rides a skateboard but it is a bit too slow in parts with pointless narrative in some cases.

Nothing that a great editor couldn’t fix though (and cut 15mins) – so bring on the remixes. Extra points for the cat and there are a few great moments.

In it’s favour the music is well chosen and there are some great ideas but it seems to me like a sideways homage to Stranger Than Paradise (1984). I saw that when it came out in 1985 and have a copy on DVD which I immediately watched for comparison.

Even after 30 years Stranger Than Paradise remains one of my favorite films because of its wry humour and what it leaves out. Jarmusch knows how tell the story in a few shots and leave us to fill in the blanks.

The other film that A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night reminds me of is Simple Men (1992)

Girl director even steals the t-shirt from this “Kool Thing” clip. Was Hal Hartly influenced by Jarmusch? Probably. Simple Men came out 2 years before Pulp Fiction (1994) for those of you thinking Tarantino had the dance sequence thing as part of his bag.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
Jim Jarmusch, The Golden Rules of Filming

I love that Jim quotes Jen-Luc Godard at the end there. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a stylish film but it doesn’t take its influences anywhere interesting to me. I know some people didn’t like Stranger Than Paradise but to me it was hilarious but it is a kind of dry humour.

At the other end of the scale here are some actual remix clips. The first one is AC/DC vs. Fatboy Slim vs. James Brown – 303 is TNT (DJ Moule) with Daft Punk in there too. NO visuals which is a wasted opportunity.

“House of Pain – Jump around vs. Queen – We will rock you vs. ACDC – Back in Black: We Will Jump You. By: Partyben Mashup Mix. VJ Brewski Videomix 2010. MP3: www.partyben.com For remixing demonstrative purposes only. All material remains the rights and property of the original owners.”

And this > which mixes up even more songs.

Last word should go to Jim. From Jim Jarmusch’s 5 Golden Rules (or non-rules) of Moviemaking from way back in 2004.

“Rule #1: There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything. If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.”

You can look up the others. And get remixing. I have added a link for a tool that might help you collaborate as a bonus for reaching the end of this post. Wipster “Wipster is a beautiful, intuitive video review and approval platform designed for producers, content creators and media teams.”

Finally remember everything goes better with Screaming Jay Hawkins As Eva says in Stranger Than Paradise he’s the main man.

*Note: While I like the idea of remixes – I support the right of the original artists to make a living from their art. If I could run an edited version of a movie I like at home it would just be for my personal amusement. I don’t know whether the music remixes listed above have permission from the original artists. I hope so and I expect that YT will be paying a fee for their use.