U2 has released an admittedly very Bono, but also actually pretty cool, animated video for their new single “Get Out Of Your Own Way.” The track is off their “Songs of Experience” album, which is out on Spotify, iTunes, and other services.
With lyrics like “Fight back, don’t take it lying down you’ve got to bite back/ The face of liberty is starting to crack,” the song is a rallying cry for social change across the world in the face of growing nationalism, fascism, and racism. The lyrics are pretty general “resistance” calls to action, but in the video’s animation, things get more interesting and specific. Read more…
Last year, Prawn released a new album, Run, and the New Jersey band is about to embark on a headlining winter tour. Today, they’re sharing a video for “Rooftops,” a song that’s all about the tension between living in the city and living in nature. The video for the track translates that anxiety … More »
Montreal post-punk outfit Ought are just ahead of releasing Room Inside The World, the follow-up to their excellent sophomore album, Sun Coming Down, which we included in our Best Albums Of 2015 list. The forthcoming album’s lead single, “These 3 Things,” gave us … More »
North Carolina dance-pop duo Sylvan Esso released the standalone single “PARAD(w/m)E” last week, and today, they’ve shared its video. In the clip, Dan Huiting directs the duo and a bunch of their friends as they do choreographed dances down a lonely desert highway, while tumbleweeds blow by. Later on, they take over … More »
The Spook School are releasing their third album, Could It Be Different?, at the end of the month, and so far we’ve heard “Still Alive” and “Less Than Perfect” from it. Today, they’re sharing “Body,” which, as its title hints at, is all about our bodies and all the ways that we love … More »
Edinburgh art-rap trio Young Fathers released the speaker-rattling gospel ballad “LORD” back in October, along with a vague announcement of their new album. Today, they give us more details, another track, and a striking video. The LP will be called Cocoa Sugar and follows 2014’s Mercury Prize-winning … More »
At the end of the month, LA punks No Age will release a new album, Snares Like A Haircut. We’ve heard two tracks from it so far — “Soft Collar Fad” and “Drippy” — and today the duo has shared a video for a third, “Send Me.” It takes place in a staid … More »
Is your video essay watchlist a bit of a boys club? Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
I watch a lot of video essays. You probably do too. They’re the hot new thing in film analysis and with good reason: they’re engaging, informative, thought-provoking, and tend to make their viewers more critical and appreciative cinema-goers.
They’re also — to quote critic and video essayist Lindsay Ellis — “a sausage fest.”
The gender disparity present in video essays is nothing new. It reflects a wider cultural disparity in film culture that will hopefully one day crumble into the sea.
When I pitched this article, one of my senior colleagues asked me if I knew of any “good” female video essayists. It was an offhand comment, and it points to something important. Male creative types get to be popular and worthy of our attention without their value being called into question. They don’t get asked upfront “but are they any good?”
Written essays have been a “feminine” medium for ages, from Joan Didion, to Susan Sontag, to Zadie Smith, to Roxane Gay. But video essays seem to take after the film industry’s gender bias. Which is mighty. And probably (read: definitely) not helped along by the internet’s hostility towards visible, opinionated women — which is especially felt by women of color and queer people.
I seek out female directors and podcast hosts and generally try to make sure I’m not living in a dude-exclusive echo-chamber. I — like a huge fucking portion of the population — crave the perspective of women, and feel their absence. The other day I realized that, with the exception of Ellis,I couldn’t think of a single non-dude video essayist and I wanted to change that.
The following essayists are creative, insightful, and funny film critics in their own right. They also happen to not be cis dudes. They deserve to be followed, subscribed to, referenced, quoted, and credited.
This will be the first time I’ll be happy to see a “but you forgot ___!” comment. While this article is necessarily incomplete, please tell us about any creators that we’ve missed!
Ever since her time at Channel Awesome, Ellis has been a wealth of insightful, lucid, and devastatingly funny film analysis that makes me laugh, cry, and want to be a more thoughtful consumer of media. Her 40-minute long investigation into the big, beautiful disaster that is Disney’s Herculesis a must watch for anyone with a penchant for production drama and the heat death of traditional animation.
Catley’s essays are delicate and stylish, and her ability to gracefully bounce from film to film is well worth emulating. Also, her essay on Die Hard’s Christmas status does a solid job of granting the debate some much-needed analytical terra firma.
We’ve covered Lee’s work on FSR before and with good reason: she’s an expert at tackling dense and challenging content with a keen eye, elegant flourish, and overwhelming cultural fluency. P.S. her essay on Lost Highwaydoes some stellar intertextual heavy lifting, and actually made me feel like I *got* Lost Highway for a minute or two which is no small feat.
In addition to being the site’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Susannah McCullough is the writer, director, and voice behind ScreenPrism‘s video essays. With production value for days, captivating visuals, and compelling narration, McCullough’s back catalog is a veritable treasure trove for any film lover.
Strucci is a great example of two of my favorite parts of video essays: 1) that blissed out buzz you get when you feel like you’re learning something; and 2) that inviting personal touch that’s emerged as an often-sought tenor in the internet age. Check out her nearly hour-long intro to film and filmmaking. It’s a great starting point for anyone interested in film but unsure of where to start.
Affrica Handley is delightful, smart, and perceptive. Curious about how the shape, ratio, and font of typography plays out in film? She’s got you covered. Want to feel academic while drooling over the food in Please Like Me? Done.
In addition to being a wicked smart video essayist, Grant runs “Audiovisualcy,” an online form for videographic film studies that acts as a helpful repository of audiovisual film crit. Audiovisualcy was created in 2011 and with over 1,740 videos, you’re bound to stumble onto something to shake up your watchlist.
Observant, whip-smart, and ready to make you think about that piano wire scene from Audition again, McGoff is a worthy watch. She’s got a soothing Scottish accent and the uncanny ability to make heavy duty film analysis look effortless.
McNeal consistently delivers well-researched, reflective, and hilarious takes on the ooky spooky, bizarre, and everything in between. Their analysis of The Holy Mountain(above) is a stupid good time, and their love of Phantom of the Paradiseis contagious (and for the initiated, very relatable). McNeal is somewhere between Mystery Science Theatre and the coolest kid in your film studies class and I love it.