Before youtube, before MTV, music videos were shown for half an hour a few nights a week. The innovative visual music started by Oskar Fischinger in Germany in the twenties translated into experimental films from Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger, and to more mainstream music films, (From A Hard Days Night, to Rocky Horror, The Who’s rock opera Tommy and beyond). Finally, in the seventies the pop promo arrived-video technology made them short, sweet and accessible on TV. Artists were hired to make the videos, and if you followed the business, there were interesting crossovers. Jarman bridges the experimental film culture and the music scene/pop culture in the music films being shown at the Walker Thursday.
Rescheduled for this Thursday, March 26 at 8:30 after being canceled by the snowstorm that shut down theTwin Cities on March 1st, – there will be two pop promos featuring Marianne Faithfull and the Smiths and more personal treatment of Benjamin Brittan’s Imagining October. A perfect diversion on a free Thursday at the Walker. Short and not too sweet.
Jarman said on many occasions that he didn’t really know how to make music videos, but they paid the bills for a while. They were, like some of his other projects making sets for a Ken Russell opera and a film, a lucky break. Derek Jarman’s music videos are an easy appetizer of his aesthetic-a taste of his work. His other independent,”arthouse” films: punk classic (Jubilee), the aesthetically stunning homoerotic (Sebastiane), the non-narrative feature length experimentation, videos blown up to 35mm (Angelic Conversations), a personalized artist biopic (Caravaggio)-may not have been seen by many. The music videos, however, reached greater audiences here and in England.
Before the Oscar for Tilda, there was Derek. Before the other movies Sally Potter made, there was Derek. Before Youtube, artists made music videos, as did Derek.
Rene Meyer-Grimberg wrote her master’s thesis on Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio. Three years of her studies in art history were in Germany. She a focused on film makers who are or were exhibiting artists.(Jarman, Greenaway, Gilliam) She thinks being an intern in the film/video department at the Walker is beast.