I'm not really a big fan of Editors, at least not big enough to get all hot and bothered when the mopey English band decides to release a new video. But when that video is directed by Ben Wheatley, director of Kill List and Sightseers, and perhaps the most fascinating new filmmaker of the past half-decade? Oh, and that video was directed in Almeria, Spain, on the same sets that were used for Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West? Well, yes, that makes me VERY hot and bothered, thank you.
The video itself is more or less impenetrable, at least on the first couple viewings. Wheatley says it was intended as "a modern version of Jodorosky's El Topo." So yeah, it's nonsensical and surreal, and it would be borderline terrifying if it weren't for Editors' jaunty radio-friendly tune playing underneath it. (Next time, I'll probably watch it with the sound off.) Still, this is a remarkable doodle from an exceptional filmmaker, who recently released the experimental A Field in England and seems to have the philosophy that making more, smaller films is a better approach than slowly making a few big ones. Thank goodness for that.
I'll post all of Wheatley's quote from the press release after the jump. (The best part: He says, "Hopefully one day I will get to return to Almeria and shoot a feature film." Fingers crossed!)
Out of the blue I got asked to direct the promo for the Editors track 'Formaldehyde.' A lot of directors come up through making pop promos: I didn't. My route in was through advertising, internet and television. The pop promo is something I've always been interested in. Music plays a big part in my film work and I've always admired the work of Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, David Wilson and Dougal Wilson to name but a few. I was very flattered to be asked. I've always grumpily maintained that promos were a young man's/woman's game (basically because I'd never really been considered to do one!).
So thanks Editors for thinking of me.
We shot on the old sets for Sergio Leones 'Once Upon A Time In The West' in Almeria in Spain. It was quite an experience. The sun is so bright and strong (I've just shot four features in a row in the UK; that kind of thing impresses me!). The mountains look amazing and everywhere you look you feel the vibe of the spaghetti westerns (they actually pipe the Morricone music in on loudspeakers so it's impossible not to feel it).
The promo stars Simon Smith and Tilly Gaunt who the eagle eyed will have spotted from my segment of the "ABC's of Death" film.. "U for Unearthed." Simon is also in "Down Terrace" (and he maintains his hand is in "Kill List!" playing a drum... he was certainly there— but I've never spotted it).
We shot the promo in a day and it was pretty frantic but good fun. We worked with a great bunch of Spanish cowboy/stuntmen/extras who wore the incredibly heavy and awkward masks with good grace.
Hopefully one day I will get to return to Almeria and shoot a feature film. It's an amazing place... Hope you enjoy the promo.