Bjork, Army of Me

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Bjork’s music video for her single Army of Me is strange and fantastical, and to me seemed very reminiscent of much of Tim Burton’s earlier works we saw at the Museum of Modern Art. The video starts with a slow pan in on Bjork lying in a glass tube, through the back of which we can see unidentifiable lights and shapes. This shot, along with the music behind it, sets the scene for the video as dark, out-of-this-world, and slightly confusing. The shot that starts at 13 seconds in is arguably my favorite in the video, and I see it as an exemplar showing of how framing, zooming out and an upward pan can be used in combination to quickly give the viewers a certain idea of what is happening, only to show them how misled they really were. At first it is just a faceless person in a plain car. Quickly, however, we see that we are actually in a scene involving a monstrous, unrealistic car and odd flying bugs the size of arms. The view of Bjork’s truck is our first real intuition on the costume and setting aspects of the mise-en-scene in the video. The car quite obviously looks fake: not just in its shape and bearing, but in that it seems to be made of Styrofoam. This follows for the rest of the video, emphasizing the idea that this is not supposed to be something we have seen before. Those familiar with Bjork’s music will understand how this idea is pertinent to her whole philosophy. She has done her best throughout her music career to never replicate anyone else, and beyond that to always do things no one else has even thought of. Again, I see a parallel to Tim Burton. As a director and film maker he is constantly changing things and doing things in ways no one else would have thought of, including writing a story about the king of Halloween town who wants to be Santa of all people, and changing the loving childrens movie Willy Wonka into a darker, creepier film.

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