We were shown a music video of the French Band AIR of the song all I need, directed by Mike Mills. For this work Mike Mills had the full agreement of the band, though they didn’t really knew what he was doing. It was worth it. From the very beginning of the clip we get the idea, that the peace that we’re watching something different from the low concept video clips that we usually see on TV. The video is on a wide screen format and the white subtitle.
The wide screen and the white subtitles on the black background, that stand out make, the look cinematic and gives the audience the feeling that they’re watching a foreign movie (the subtitles are in French as the clip was produced for the French public). The high concept of the video comes from the fact that the video sees itself as a film and a documentary. We don’t usually get the chance to listen music, watch film and documentary in one, which is exactly what we do with “All I Need”.
This clip is not like the usual ones- the band singing, playing on their instruments and dancing. In “All I Need” the audience even don’t get the chance to see the band- low concept videos with a budget of a Hollywood production. In the case of “All I Need” is a high concept piece of product, however made with quite a low budget. With this project Mike Mills mixes in a great simple way video clip with documentary and film, without making the product complicated, but easy to watch and relax with it.
The genre is supposed to be a promo clip; however it does not have all the characteristics of the genre. The clip begins with a girl (the main character) speaking about her relationship and the music begins as some kind of a background and is more like a soundtrack to the film/ documentary/ interview that we’re watching. Then we hear a voice from behind the camera: “So, how did you guys meet? ” the clip becomes to look as an interview. The basic genre of “All I Need” is supposed to be a promo clip, but Mike Mills changes it, so it has the taste of an interview, documentary and a film.
This kind of change is not common to the promo clip genre, though the change has done a great effect to the audience, the people that prefer to stay at home, than going for a loud night out. The main purpose of “All I Need” is to entertain, but also to promote the band- AIR and the lifestyle, which the clip presents. The image of AIR is strongly promoted in the clip, though we never get the chance to see them in the clip (unusual for music videos).
As a band that produces lounge music we can easily say that this French band (that have gone very far, because they are popular not only in France but in Europe and the whole world) makes simple, uncomplicated music and create the image of unassuming artists, they’re retro, but modern and chic, and take themselves as artists, not as those simple bands in the charts. They create the music for themselves and only for their audience, without interesting to get new.
AIR are famous not for their look, but for their music, they made the music for Sophia Copula’s film “Virgin Suicide”. They are neither ostentatious, neither a type of band that will be promoting their new album on the TV. “All I Need” proves this and promotes AIR’s image. The editing techniques are such important in the video. In the beginning after we see the girl talking about her relationship, Mike Mills uses David Hockney’s images to establish the location- green grass and clear blue sky, which are related to only one place in the world- California.
He uses pan shots of still and almost still images that look as postcards or photos, to show the audience girl’s room and the suburban area that she and her boyfriend live in, using the most common details of the places. He also uses pan shots of still images and uses jump cuts. The voice over continues through the editing. The editing is designed generally slow, so that the action involves the audience and makes it observe, not get excited. In “All I Need” there are two main representations: the one of the place- California and the other, of the young people and their relationships.
The representation of California as a dream location, but not because of the wealth, but because of the freedom is very strong. California is the only place in the world where there is clear blue sky (common for the deserts) and green grass (for places with a lot of rain). California is the place transformed by the people from a desert to a normal place. The video connote California as a slow and lazy place to live, because the couple live in the suburbs, where there are no people during the day- everyone is at work, however it gives the location king of dead uninhabitable look.
And from the very beginning we understand which the location is California by the things that we, as an audience associate it with: the surfers, the free life, without caring about tomorrow, wealth and sun all year long and laziness. The relationship between the boy and the girl, as well as their way of living is represented by their look, where and how they live, what they do and how they connote life and love. The girl is the main person from the beginning: she talks longer, and the shots that show her and her life are longer as well.
From her Californian accent and pronunciation (sometimes hard to understand) we get the idea of the location. She’s got androgynous figure and quirky look- short hair and dressed boyish; in the beginning we get a pan shot of her room- covered with posters of groups like Beastie Boys and punk and skate images. Her room is like every teenager’s room in US. The boy lives in a trailer home with a roommate, considering by the second bed in the bed room.
These young people represent the global youth: they live an American teenage life with values like: do what you want where you want, living the best time of their lives, not being a part of the society and living without strict rules. It’s also interesting how a teenage girl could talk so cleverly about true love and relationships. When she says: “He always makes sure that I’m OK… ” we see him taking care if her and through the whole clip they show their love by kissing and hugging and this makes the audience understand their love.
We also never get the chance to see their parents, which makes us believe that these guys live quite an independent life. And we never get the chance to see what they do for living, which makes us believe that they live without caring about money and wealth. They also represent the skaters’ image: his got “Skateboarding is not a crime” on his T-shirt, they spend every minute they can skating, but that’s not all- he teaches younger kids to skate, he promotes the way of living to them. This is life style that values music like numetal and punk they are laid back but also found of the danger.
This is the Do It Yourself culture. The whole representation of the boy and the girl and their way of life is to promote the global youth image and make the audience (late 20’s-early 30’s) to desire to be the images that they see. The audience want to be them, even if they don’t identify with them. It’s because of the simple fact that everyone is jealous and wants to live their life and feel the love that they feel for each other. Our society values money, beauty and youth. Nowadays people just buy the identities, young free identities. This is a global culture; people just want to be young and free living.