As of this writing, the music video featuring the young singing duo t.A.T.u has just made its debut on MTV's Total Request Live. It depicts hot, underage, Russian lesbians freaking it in the rain. MTV is a curious home for such a feat of cinematic and cultural brilliance. You might ask, "How can a music video be a cinematic feat?" And I would definitely be willing to answer.
The song itself, called "All The Things She Said," is a single off the U.S. release of the group's record, 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane. It's a pop number, with a loud swathe of bass guitar atop the kind of late-'90s, high-energy techno beat one might hear if one frequented America's numerous mainstream gay dance clubs. It's produced with the glossy shellac of a dramatic radio hit, though the chorus is catchy--an echoing, wrought round of youthful, angsty girl sopranos. The duo sings, "All the things she said running through my head. This is NOT ENOUGH! UH, UH! This is NOT ENOUGH!" They sing it with the kind of passion only two underage Russian wraiths can muster, imbued with an ironic mixture of fear and wonder. And while t.A.T.u is the creation of a downright visionary, if smarmy, marketing concept--two hot, 17-year-old ex-models/lovers brought together by a Russian ad exec to sing lesbionic pop hits--they have more legitimacy in ONE of their dainty, wispy eyelashes than in the baboon-like kickboxing of a thousand Avrils. As t.AT.u's Julia says on the t.A.T.u website, "Russians are not dark, but we are not light either. We have a different view, maybe deeper, because life is more difficult in Russia."
As proof, I submit: The Video (which you may watch online at
www.tatugirls.com). Since the song illustrates the story of their illegitimate love, damned by society, it was necessary for the video to include this in its visual narrative but how?
Through symbolism, of course. Shot with the oppressive feel of the Eastern Bloc (by utilizing a cinematic atmosphere analogous to Caro and Jeunet's La Cite des Enfants Perdus or Abuladze's Monaneiba), the video begins with rain plummeting violently from a dark, angry sky. The shot pans down--we see a fence topped with barbed wire, and then a row of black umbrellas held by solemn, joyless people gazing through the holes in the fence. On the other side: Julia and Lena, the girls of t.A.T.u. Both wearing schoolgirl outfits without proper umbrellas to shield them from the weather above, the rain renders them nearly naked, and shivering.
And where else to go, but to the warm hearth of each other's arms? The wet, oppressed teens run yearningly into an embrace--the stoic faces watching them all the while--and kiss passionately, as if it's their last act of living on this earth! The rain disguises the rivers of tears burrowing into their apple cheeks. The elders who stand behind the fence represent the old world, and all who want to keep their love in chains, for Russian statesmen have already condemned t.A.T.u's pop music as being improper (though they won the "Best Video" award last year on Russian MTV). But nothing can hold them back. They kiss in the rain, oblivious to the cold gulag in which they are imprisoned. While society waits behind the fence, oblivious to the paradigm of their own making, Julia and Lena grab hands, and run off into the night. The appeal of this short film goes beyond the initially shocking image of two gorgeous, underage, questionably lesbian (the girls skirt the issue, mostly, though they somewhat admitted their love in an interview with Polish Maxim) ladies tonguing each other in the wetness of the night. There is so much hope in this video.