I’m intrigued by apocalyptic literature and dystopian cities. Of course, the feeling that “The End is Near!” isn’t new to any era of civilization, but it’s hard not to look around lately and wonder if the Bad Times are on their way… Here’s some animated videos about the end of the world, our brittle relationships with technology and each other, our dependence and fears of the urban landscape, and what might come after…
Ludo – “Save Our City” (dir. Benjamin Karis-Nix, 2009)
From the band’s “Broken Bride” 2005 EP, this video depicts a town caught in a zombie apocalypse, and the citizens deciding to fight back.
La Main des Maîtres/The Master’s Hand
(dir. Adrien “CaYuS” Toupet, Clément Delatre & Looky, 2008)
With heavy influences from Alphonse Mucha, Katsuhiro Otomo and Moebius three student artists composed this internationally acclaimed short film. Lush animation with well-blended CG elements hearkens back to the days of Heavy Metal magazine. Is the ending more hopeful or despairing? That’s left to the viewer…
Here’s a translation of the lyrics of this Croatian song. Elements of Zdenko Basic’s film “Gulliver” were adapted to become this lovely music video about a city with a shape, and the person in the city who travels through it – and may also be the city itself.
Pearl Jam – “Do The Evolution” (dir. Kevin Altieri/Todd MacFarlane, 1998)
Lead singer Eddie Vedder said this song is “about a man drunk on technology,” and has also called it a “good stoner video”. Graphic scenes of war, desecration of humans and human landscapes, and oppressive technology and speech are shown to argue that humanity has failed to evolve from its earliest and most bestial nature.
Ken Ishii – “Extra” (dir. Koji Morimoto, 1995)
Ken Ishii is a Japanese composer, perhaps best known for composing the opening theme to the 1998 Nagano winter olympics. This video won “Best Dance Music Video” from MTV Europe in 1995. The video was directed by Koji Morimoto, who worked with Katsuhiro Otomo on several occasions for both the Akira and Robot Carnival films. Like those films, this video blends high technology and the grotesque, showing a society out of control and one person attempting to resist it.
Deru – “Peanut Butter and Patience” (dir. Howie Shea, 2009)
Deru produces independent electronic music in Los Angeles. This video, directed by Howie Shea and animated by Shea and Pasquale LaMontagna, is from the EP of the same title. The lyricless video depicts a young girl – or possibly several girls in succeeding generations – attacking an immobile but ominous mechanical figure.
Nena – “99 Luftballoons” (2009 edition)
Back in the 80’s, Nena had a hit with her nuclear-deterrence song about a nuclear war being brought on by a red balloon on radar being misinterpreted by military leaders. The song was recently updated with a new video – check it out!
Radiohead- “Reckoner” Music Video
Following the release of “In Rainbows”, Radiohead and “virtual animation studio” Aniboom held a contest for participants to create music videos for Radiohead. Four entries won $10,000 prizes, and this one, for the song “Reckoner”, builds its point with subtle, understated elegance.