THEME SONG (a mix of Eagles of Death Metal and classical music starts playing, an impure beauty with both modern and older sonorities).
Let’s state the obvious, there are good and bad revolutionaries. The good revolutionary is a life lover, the bad is a “death lover” – just like Joan Sfar draws it. Undercover from combat and to reach purity, the bad revolutionary starts killing freedom. The good revolutionary turns down oppression, fanaticism and doesn’t ever rise as a model of virtue. As for the good revolutionary mashuper, once he destroys, rebuilds. He hops on to another piece with the only desire to pay tribute. The revolutionary cineaste from the New Wave at the end of the 50s despised “daddy’s cinema” that came before him. The revolutionary cinéaste from Mashup screams his love for movies he borrows to the moon. He loves them so much that he hastens to knock them out and to feed himself from the entrails of their fuming corpses. Then, he regurgitates and expulses them out of his impure heart and brain with a new flesh impregnated with a crossbreeding of him and all these images he devoured.
I love this mix in the mashup. And like every good revolutionary mashuper, I love to push icons down their pedestal. I always tell my grandchildren – that I don’t have yet – that mashup cinema is a contemporary form of Pop Art. It is popularity laid bare. The Found Footage movement of experimental cinema – speaking about Isidore Idou, Ken Jacobs, etc. and not about Projet Blair Witch and REC – tended to take the media waste and to raise it to the light. But mashup, does take hyper mediatised images to make them fall at breast height. It proceeds with this same attempt of the icon desacralizing than Pop Art.
The Inconnus – a famous trio of French comedians – throughout the years, made their admirers know it well, « life without music is like Santa Claus without his Christmas balls ». But the balls, we got them. So let’s credit where credit is due, and let’s start our desacralizing review with a Musicless Musicvideo by Mario Wienerroither.
Whether it is commercial or creative, the music video is an ornament putting the singer in majesty so he gets adulated. More than just the schoolboy humor, Mario Wienerroither’s Musicless Musicvideos makes stars less shiny and more human… and therefore more touching. The mashuper is looking to humanize those who we sometimes tend to divinize.
Is it an insurrection against the star system that is also at work in another mashup subgenre, the shreds? Which name comes from the literal meaning of the word. As would Jean-Baptiste Gauthier say, “get your ears ready to bleed from happiness”.
Good Lord! Even if the end of the 90s saw the world of music videos bloom with several visual gems – by Michel Gondry for some of them – there are several very cinematographically poor ones. Doesn’t the idea of substituting the original soundtrack, deeply loved in this amateur version, and therefore of highlighting this earthly damned person that claps in their hands, show – through the absurd – that this visual illustration isn’t deserving of the Beach Boys’ music? But the “shredders” don’t denounce a bad work, they do the opposite. They spent hours and hours competing with cleverness in order to manage the dissonance, and they create an apology of the technique imperfection as a rightful source of laugh and emotions. Therefore, they militate against a cosmetic smooth of the images and the sounds that surround us. We could naturally end up thinking that a “well done” movie is a good movie. But is this only what is cinema about? A well oiled machine able to hide stitches from us so we would believe in what we see? How many movies have I seen nominated in festivals when their directors were reciting their guide of the cinematographic knowledge, illustrated with nice photographs and managed travelling? How many times did this make me yawn? All that when was being pushed on the bench an imperfect, less stable but more moving and powerful movie. Skills cannot capture the poetry but poetry can be reached when skills are put along with freedom. Thus, the soul of a movie is much more important to me than its good earnings.
If the mashup reminds us that the powerful people of the media world are just humans with all their imperfections, it also likes to make us understand that we, small hands and small voices, have a lot of talent and are allowed to have our own time of glory. This is the meaning of Kutiman’s mixing-exploration that he offers us on YouTube.
Kutiman wanders through the highway of images that is YouTube, looking for basic amateur and musical material. He makes those shine through a grouping and a re-appropriation. This re-appropriation can’t be done without the people and without those debutante singers who then get thousands of viewers on their channels. Over this ephemeral glory, Kutiman gives to this website dedicated to sharing videos, its whole significance back. While some use it to divide, to broadcast hate and selfishness, this mashuper puts all the music in him to join different visual and musical universe, to make electric guitar, ukulele, gong, maracas, cithara, and harpsichord, all sound together. To bring people closer was the dream of the internet creators, wasn’t it?
We need to keep on dreaming, while still facing things. In tribute to all those we lost on November 13 2015, I suggest you to watch Who by Water by Bill Morrison.
The strength of this movie is that it does not say what we should be seeing in it. Of course, some elements of the directing tickle us, such as the dramatic power of Michael Gordon’s music. But Bill Morrison lets us build our own story, based on our past life and imagination. I personally see people who watch their doom right in the eyes. Or dead people’s ghosts going through a long journey. Today I don’t see the Titanic in it like I did the first time. I see the Bataclan in it, the Stade de France, and also all those refugees fleeing terrorism that is raging in their country, and dying crossing the sea. Paris and its inhabitants were attacked by terrorism on that day. So was Beirut. We need to fight in a war against Islamic terrorism, but we need to do it with all that compose French society and every country of the free world.
The mashuper cannot do a lot in this war. But he can however transform a horror movie to a…
The Shining Recut shows us that putting images together makes us make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Wouldn’t it be more useful to show these kinds of mashups to all high school students? Wouldn’t they, therefore, be less naïve when movie recuts that were made to make them join ISIS fall before their eyes?