Saturday, August 9, 2008

M83's "Kim and Jessie" Video hates Rollerskating, Synchronization and Lesbians

Something about the new video for M83's "Kim and Jessie" bothers me. And while this may be petty to most people, I have found myself thinking about it for days. It's something I should like: A Video About Rollerskating.

But rollerskating is such a ripe music-video fruit that I will not settle merely for its presence in a mediocre video, and everyone else should demand more. And that's not the only problem.

1. You can tell the girls in the video don't really love to roller skate. Compare them to the hula-hooping girl in the Frankmusik Video for "In Step:"

That girl clearly loves what she is doing. In contrast to the M83 girls. Who are smiling but don't love roller-skating.

Here's where it gets deep: I'd bet the difference is that the Hula-Hooper is Italian, and the M83 girls are likely British or American. Anglo's aren't as good at feeling joy at the expense of their image, we're too self-consciously dorky to be dorky in a purely liberated manner.

2. Speaking of liberation: Why not just let them be lesbians? For the love of god, the video is clearly supposed to be about lesbians. There's no reason we have to keep fictional characters in the closet care of some douchey-looking roller-hippies.

3. I know this is supposed to be "synchronized" roller skating, but outside of about 30 seconds, it's not synchronized. At all. It's constantly annoyingly unsynchronized: "No one really gives a shit about roller skating anyway so let's just get it done in two takes, ladies!" People leave the frame at different points, are different distances from the camera when they shouldn't be, etc.

Look, I know this is petty stuff. The reason I care? Most of it comes down to the Anglo-cultural "Can't look like I give a damn" idea of "cool" and frustration with a culture that is terrified of looking dorky. Dorky here is a synonym for passionate, I suppose. It is more troubling to me when it reinforces this cool detachment with the "Nah, we're not REALLY lesbians!" finale. This seems to me like a video about restraining yourself from what you love, except that no one was aware of it.

M83 = fail. Lesbians who love rollerskating deserve to be recognized.


Vincent said...

ha ha the hula hooper is indeed Italian. Well spotted. We did the video in one take too! I know what you mean about the whole restraining part. You are just thinking "when are they going to hook up?" But noooo. Oh well. I get the girl at the end of my video.


Elliott Broidy said...

Thats purely awesome

Anonymous said...

I think you've missed the point of the video entirely. You have two young girls at the start of the video rollerskating and having a generally carefree time. The mood changes when they crash into each other and the men dressed as women in yellow appear.

They represent the young girls beginning to discover their sexual identities. This is enforced by the imagery of the skaters in yellow jabbing at them with their umbrellas. You also have a telling scene where they slide under the skaters, getting a good look at their undies and obviously enjoying it.

Then you have them skating down a mountain road - which some people might want to claim is the two women on the journey of life. I think it's just something that looks cool and fits with the breakdown of the song.

Then you have them skating around a pool with more males. They are watching and following them and then they make out at the end. Signifying their sexual awaking.