Premised on the notion of "subvertising," the Faze festival (Cantor Film Center, May 12) sets out to celebrate the music video as an anarchic art form and, as a direct result, suffers somewhat from hipper-than-thou self-congratulation. (Also, the skin-deep definition of subversion encompasses rubbish like Fat Les's "Vindaloo," an English soccer novelty record you should never have to hear, set to a witless send-up of the "Bittersweet Symphony" video). That said, the works on show are mostly inventive and stylish, if not exactly earthshaking in their implications for the medium, let alone Popular Culture.
The big guns are all present. Jonas Akerlund ("Ray of Light," "Smack My Bitch Up") is represented by the Cardigans' high-body-count "My Favorite Game" and his banned promo for Metallica's "Turn the Page" (stripper's story with faux social commentary). Chris Cunningham, a sick-minded F/X wiz who's worked with Kubrick, has four videos here, including Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy," in which evil children with mutant faces run amok. Cunningham's new Aphex video, "Windowlicker," is a blaxploitative parody with the same gimmick: the booty-shakin' 'hos have grotesque Aphex faces and beards. His promo for Björk's "All Is Full of Love" is less in your face, a pristine, THX-1138inspired vision of robot-sex.
Other highlights: Jonathan Glazer's Diana-haunted underpass collisions (Unkle's "Rabbit in the Headlights"); a clever Mike Mills backward narrative (Moby's "Run On"); Little X's sly skewering of glossy hiphop clichés (Redman's "I'll Be Dat"); and the blueprint for Spike Jonze's sublimely deranged interpretive dance to Fatboy Slim's "Praise You," a solo "spec" version set to "Rockafeller Skank" words can't do it justice.
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