Romain Gavras

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Ciaran Walsh

Romain Gavars is the music video director of controversial videos such as ‘Born Free by M.I.A’ and ‘Stress by justice’. Within these two music videos he portrays and explores ideas in which others would not and shows them in a unique light. In ‘Born Free’ it shows a swat team staging a raid, while at the same time ignoring a man sitting in clear sight smoking and beating a couple to get to a ginger man. They then violently detain him and put him into a swat van with other ginger people. The detained gingers are then made to run across a live mine field, before which we see a young boy shot in the head and during a man is blown up due to the mines. The main ginger we saw being abducted from his home tries to run away but ends up being severely beaten by two of the swat men. This is an example of “Auteur Theory” as the audience can see reflections of the director’s nature in the scenes he has directed, as he would have left traces of his personality in each of his productions. Andrew Goodwin came up with 7 points that can help identify features within a music video; some of them apply to Romain Gavars work. One of Goodwin’s points is that there is a distinct relationship between the music and visuals on screen, this occurs on several occasions such as when they are on the bus, the music reflects the tension and confusion of the passengers aboard s they do not know why they are there or what is going to happen. This happens again soon after when the main detained prisoner stand up to a member of the swat team the sound is long notes that increase the tension of the scene. This makes the audience feel the tension and emotion of the protagonist actor.

Another video directed by Romain Gavars is Justice – Stress where again he shows the side to gangs in its true light. This music video is shot from the point of view of a camera crew following the gang’s endeavours as they work their way around town vandalising everything in sight from cars to pubs and causing harassment to the local community. They also mug and beat up random strangers who try to intervene or stop there activities. Andrew Goodwin’s point are also used to an extent in this music video as like before the music used with the visuals on screen have a distinct relationship that causes the audience to feel tension and fear of what they might do next. An example of this comes from when they are waiting for an elevator and security guards come out looking for them, and we see their initial reaction as being fight. The fear that Romain Gavars wants the audience to feel comes through the actions taken by the teenage boys throughout the video as they do not do things individually but as a gang causing mayhem. There were signs that this was going to be a gang video at the beginning as the tempo of the music was fast paced and had a strong bass line. This was then linked in with the visuals and we saw the sign of the gang on the back of their jackets.

Overall these two videos are both controversial as they do not agree with Andrew Goodwin’s analysis of music videos. They do not display particular genre characteristics of a band or artist performing the song with a narrative base to form the video. There are also no lyrics and therefore there cannot be a relationship between them and the song. Also the artist (M.I.A) does not feature in the video so the record label clearly did not demand close up of the star within the song.


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