|Music:||NERD - She wants to move|
|URL:||iMeem, download at astartexx's LJ|
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Reactions and Reviews
So here's a music video that I've been pondering for a while. I downloaded "Move" by astartexx at the beginning of February, and I've been thinking about it on and off ever since. When I first saw it I was impressed by its technical virtuosity, but it was almost too jam-packed with images for me to process immediately. Several days later I watched it another couple of times, and started to be able to follow it, thanks in part to the handy Cliffs Notes version provided by astartexx. And yet still I find myself thinking about it, partly in terms that are inspired by my recent musings on gender roles in literature and film. What does it mean? What message is it actually sending? Do I agree with the view of Scully that's presented? It's beautiful, thought-provoking, and it's a vid about which I remain passionately ambivalent....To start with, I really can't stand the song, "She Wants to Move" by N.E.R.D. It's not tuneful, it's not subtle, and to my ears, it's just not pleasant. It's a simple song with a simple plot: man sees hot girl with boyfriend in club, man thinks hot girl can do much better (with him, of course), man wants to dance with hot girl, does so, and ends up asking her why she's with such a loser. Or something like that. Not quite what I would associate with Scully, and not what I would call an inspiring message either. It's all a macho confrontation between two men. We hear that the girl "loves it," but I'm not so credulous as to believe that. Forgive me for using the term "objectification," but I'm just about to. Objectification. There.
So how does the video work, then? Very well. In fact, it's almost a feminist tale. astartexx wanted to show Scully loving her job and the work that she does--even loving Mulder despite his occasional uselessness--and thinking that it's all worthwhile despite all the angst and kidnappings and trouble that goes with the job. The vid aims to show Scully not as a victim and not as an object, but as someone who has chosen the life she leads despite its difficulties. Because of the idiosyncratic choice of music it ends up being a pleasantly fresh take on Scully's character.
The vid, just like the music, is wonderfully breathless. It throws images at you without letting up, and it leaves you rather incoherently thinking "gosh, cool, Scully, wow!" and drooling slightly. It uses really noticeable audio cuts, which astartexx did intentionally, and these only contribute to the breathless atmosphere. I also loved the moody, almost sepia coloring and the effects--especially the light bar at 0:41 that really serves to emphasise Scully's position in the long shot in the hallway.
Another aspect of the breathlessness that may be less successful--or maybe it is, because this is the bit that made me go all contemplative and meta on the vid--is the frequent POV changes. astartexx says she used the audio cuts to cue people in to these, and I may be dim, but I just didn't grasp this when watching. The vid starts with shots of Scully and her gun, taking action, being in control, solving problems and just generally being cool. Great. But then at 0:49 we hit what astartexx calls the "Psycho Block," the POV changes, and we see shots of Scully tied up, bruised and beaten, to the lyrics "look at your girl, she loves it!" Now, in retrospect I understand what the vid was getting at: the psychos think she loves it, Scully loves her job even when these things happen to her. But the shifts in POV came much too fast for me to understand this in my first viewing, or even my first five viewings. And there is still something inherently disturbing about seeing a woman tied up and beaten along with the assertion that she enjoys it (unless at the time she is saying "ooh, Mulder, tell me I'm a naughty girl," but somehow I doubt that is likely to feature in an X-Files episode any time soon). Similarly at 1:03 we have "she wants it, I can see it in her eyes," set to Ed Jerse being just a little rough with Scully. And we know what happened then.
In a lighter vein, I love the sequence starting at 1:20 that's set to the question "Why you with that fool?" It's like a capsule summary of the whole Mulder/Scully relationship, all in the space of about three seconds. Seven clips, I think, and I was going to enumerate them but I'll let you look for yourself.But the last shot in the vid really sums it up: it is the shot of Scully walking into the office at the end of (I think) "Never Again." The camera pans up and we see Scully looking as cool, confident, and put-together as always, the ultimate feminist icon... and then we see her face covered with bruises from a date gone disastrously wrong. The vid aims to celebrate Scully and in a sense to reclaim her victim status, and it comes so, so, so close to succeeding. So close, in fact, that I feel almost churlish in finding aspects of it disturbing. But I do. It's great, it's fun, and yes, it's sexy, but there are moment where I can't help but feeling that it's celebrating her victimhood, even though I know that it's not. I wonder if that makes the vid a failure, but I know I'd much rather watch a glorious, thought-provoking failure than a lackluster success. 
I have obsessed more about this vid than about any other and I don't think I'm done yet. Thought-provoking, infuriating, beautiful and breathless, it combines a fascinating look at gender roles and victimization in the X-Files with a lot of shots of Scully kicking ass. A win-win combination.