Kanye West Premiered his 35 minute music video film, "Runaway," on Saturday on MTV, MTV2, and VH1. the premiere followed a Q&A with the artist on MTV.com. West's "Runaway" is a short film in which his upcoming album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," is played as the soundtrack, and aids the unfolding of the story line. The opening scene shows West's character Griffen, looking distressed and sprinting in a forest, behind him in the distant sky is an orange explosion. The scene cuts to Griffen in a car driving through the forest where his car is hit by what aprears to be a giant fireball from the sky. We then see that the flaming ball was a phoenix, played by the Victoria Secret model Selita Ebanks. Ebanks appears lying in the concrete naked and covered in (salmon colored?) feathers, with touches of black, pink and blue feathers. West picks up the unconcious phoenix, and the next scene cuts to her waking up in his home where the news is on. Griffen enters and shuts of the TV then firmly states, "First rule in this world, baby, is: don't pay attention to anything you see in the news."
And thus the star crossed love story begins.
[Click "read more" to see the video.]
[Click "read more" to see the video.]
The whole 35 minutes of the film is cinematically beautiful with a great combination of colors. Such as the bright orange-ish red sky contrasting against the dark green of the trees. West said in the Q&A that the colors were very important to him and all of it was carfully planned out with the visual designer. West had many symbolic features in the film, and many of them could be misconceived, such as the dinner table where Griffen and his friends sit at for dinner where all the guest were Black, and they were being catered to by white servants. West explained that it wasn't racial at all but for the color palette of the scene, and it was done by the direction of his visual designer (who is a White woman).
Another scene that could be misinterpreted is the people in what appears to be Ku Klux Klan uniforms. That scene take place with a little kid running in an empty field with a torch that has red smoke flowing out of it. In the field we see a giant head that is of Michael Jackson surrounded by a marching band, and then what appears to be the KKK. Griffen and the phoenix are also seen there laughing and having a good time. West's song "All of the Lights" featuring Rihanna is fueling the scene. The scene ends with the formerly energetic kid holding the torch in a less energetic way wearing the Klu Klux-esque hood. West explained that the scene was him introducing the phoenix to his culture and pop culture, where there is no one more important to pop culture than the king Michael Jackson. He explained that the hooded people weren't the KKK but represented cults, and how the media and society convert people into the cults where they are not allowed to think for themselves and "makes people stand in their own mental jails."
My favorite scene from the film is the scene where the ballet dancers are dancing to West's "Runaway." Specifically, when the three lead dancers were dancing solos to the music, and how the style of dance was fusing together with hip-hop when you wouldn't expect the two styles to coexist at once. I also LOVED the beginning of the dinner scene where Selita is wearing an AMAZING gold headress. The styling of the film was on point with the costume designers being Martin Izaredo and Philip Lim who created the phoenix costume.
I feel the most important part of the film was the scene where the phoenix asks Griffen where statues come from. When he tries to answer she tells him that statues are phoenixes who have turned to stone. "Do you know what I hate most about your world? Anything that is different you try to change. You try to tear it down." I felt this quote to be very powerful and so true about our society and media today, and very true about the media toward West. When asked about why West chose the phoenix, he said not only because of the phoenix's symbolism of rebirth from ashes being a parallel to his career due to his 2009 VMA controversy, but also an idea he had before the incident when he talking to Lady GaGa planning their joint tour.
Overall I enjoyed getting to see a glimpse inside of the beautiful dark twisted mind of the genius Kanye West. The only thing that I didn't really like is the fact that were commercials because it interrupted the flow of the story. I thought there were strong visuals and symbolism. I enjoyed the message of not letting anyone make you doubt yourself, break you, or turn you to stone. And like the phoenix in the end, letting yourself be free of judgment and the bindings of society. You can get a copy of the film "Runaway" with the purchase of West's new album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" on November 22nd.