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Title: Rook
Creator: Laura Shapiro
Date: 2002, digitally remastered in 2004
Format: VHS, DVD
Length: 4:12 minutes
Music: "Rook" performed by +4DB
Genre: character study
Fandom: X-Files
Footage: X-Files
URL: online version of the vid
Mulder on his quest for truth. "Rook, rook/ Gaze in the brook/ If there's a secret can I be part of it?" ~ lyrics.

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Rook is an X-Files character study vid by Laura Shapiro. The vid premiered at Vividcon 2002.

Vidder's summary: "Mulder, questions, and lights in the sky."

According to convention attendees the vid blew the audience away with its use of metaphor and color, and was one of the most-talked about vids at Vid Review the next morning. In 2004, the vid was selected for the "Literalism vs. Metaphor" panel and vidshow at Vividcon. Some viewers felt that the song choice was appropriate for the darkness many fans see within Mulder's character. It has often been called a living room vid as opposed to a con vid due to its quieter and more reflective tone.

One reviewer commented that ""Rook" has the color scheme I've always associated with XF, the icy blues, the blacks and whites, matching the chilly ethereal clarity of the lead singer's voice."[1]

Another viewer calls the vid "A moving, beautiful portrait of Mulder's journey." [2]

Vidder's Notes

In 2003, Laura Shapiro used "Rook" to illustrate song choice in a discussion on the Vidder (mailing list):
"Rook" was the first song I ever wanted to vid, before I knew what vids were, let alone how to make them. At the time, it was because I loved what the lyrics said about Mulder, as I saw him: a man obsessed, a man possessed, a man on a quest. But by the time I felt ready to try to commit my ideas to pixels, it was the emotional resonance of the song that inspired me.

The song has very intense musical peaks and valleys, going from the spare beauty of a single unaccompanied alto voice to a rich, soaring melding of six voices, soprano to bass, throbbing in harmony and dischord. The emotional canvas of the song covers both the pain, frustration, and determination of a single searcher and the heart-racing joy of discovery (illuminated in the vid by the blinding light of spaceships). Finally it settles again into a single voice, on a note of acceptance and completion.

On the surface, "Rook" is a fairly intellectual vid, aiming as it does for symbolism rather than literal or narrative meaning, and having pretty unapproachable lyrics as well. I think the reason it works is the song's incredible emotional power.
She later went on to explain that "Rook" is "pretty much an experiment. I wanted to see how far I could push myself in terms of non-narrative vidding, trying to make the vid work totally visually and symbolically rather than constructing a story. I also wanted to get away from context-heavy clips that don't add visual meaning, which I think a lot of vids suffer from, including my own. The process, too, was totally experimental for me -- it was much more organic than my anally retentive brain usually allows me to be. I hardly had any of it figured out before I started."

Additional Director's Commentary Track for Rook, Archived version

Additional Reviews

  • "Really, you should be watching all of Laura's vids, because as far as I'm concerned you just can't *find* better, but this is one of my all-time favorites. Why? It's haunting, the way the best X-Files episodes were. The song chosen will grab your soul and twist. The clips and cuts were excellently chosen and done and I was just in awe throughout. It's entirely in character, putting even the rotten haggis of the last few seasons into context and making everything make *sense*. Jesus, anyone who can make the mytharc make sense gets about 9,000,000 points. It made me fall in love with Mulder, something that I've never once been in danger of. Suddenly, I understood him and his quest. And I ached for him. Beautifully done."[3]


  1. thuviaptarth's thuviaptarth's Vividcon Con Report dated 2006.
  2. giandujakiss's X-Files Recommendations.
  3. teland's X-Files recs.