The Pretty Reckless “You”

Shot on October 4th 2011 at same time and rooms as as “My Medicine”, at the Barclay Hotel Los Angeles.

Both songs are from the same personal timeline as far as I can tell.

The concept was to use projected imagery to suggest how we play memories over and over as a compulsive fantasy exorcism.

Sex and love are a powerful electro-chemical interaction. DNA resonates, harmonizes and weaves a physical and spiritual interdependence.

It’s all waves and resonance. Soul, electricity. Lovers are dynamos interacting with other dynamos, living on a dynamo that is rotating in the solar system, itself a giant spinning dynamo. The earth doesn’t really go around the sun. Its all moving together in a lazy DNA spiral through a cloud of other dynamos though space and time, refining soul.

Making love drives the whole thing.

Not surprisingly with all these electrons flying around some get mixed together, according to Sgt Pluck.

As a result separating from someone can be painful and leave a phantom limb, and generate a hundred million great songs.

Staying together on the other hand can generate a new dynamo/soul.

Not something that our contemporary death cult society encourages in its quest for self-extinction.

William Reich was an world famous Austrian psychoanalyst, who escaped the repression of Nazi Germany, only to have the misfortune of being incarcerated in the USA for his orgone research. He died of  a heart attack in prison, having watched his books and papers being burned by the Feds in the prison yard outside his cell window. Six tons of his research papers were later fed into incinerators by order. Frying pans and fires?

Reich’s are the only books ever burned by the US Government.

Reich’s book: “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” is worth reading if you want to dig into the underlying psychology of our times.  The whole book is posted as a PDF at that link. His work is probably two hundred years ahead of our understanding.

Better throw it in the fire then?


Shooting love scenes is harder than it might seem.

Usually the actors aren’t lovers, and often haven’t even met before, so they feel awkward and unattractive. Direction has to be very specific and physically detailed, like shooting fashion and arranging flowers. You are giving them permission to touch each other, creating safety and self-confidence. Then, like directing any performance, you try to help reveal emotion.  Combine that with having specific camera angles and lighting effects in mind, and a crew around, and it gets very technical and not very sexy.

Then the actors begin to trust you and understand that the scene is about love and touch.

As with anything to do with sex, it always helps to have a sense of humor, and some music.

There’s an “explicit” version that comes out on Vimeo now and then, but this version tells the story just as well.  Why are we shocked by breasts, having been nourished by them?

“… the goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation.” Wilhelm Reich. 

The performance shoot was much more fun for me.  It was clear that we were in the right place at the right time doing the right thing for the song. That is the best feeling in the world.

I almost always put the camera directly in the artist’s eye line in music videos, break the wall and make one on one contact with the viewer. With a very personal song like ‘You” this is even more effective.

The most effective ocular convergence point in this blocking was an inch or so behind the film plane. That’s where the other party to the conversation is located on a 50 mm lens.

When she saw the first edits Taylor was very uncomfortable with her close-up performance , and wanted the video to be just the love scenes. Not something she could be objective about. Fortunately the band talked her off the ledge.

I love everything about Taylor’s performance. The vulnerability is real. 

Key lighting is just late afternoon daylight though a window covered with cheap plastic diffusion.  Backlight is from the 16mm projector running a random film. That’s all Danny used for light.

Charlie Whisker says there are two rules in art: “Activate the canvas”, and: “The sky always goes at the top”.

The first applies to film making. The performance shots are all hand held, the camera is always moving, often imperceptibly. This activates the image and reinforces the feeling of the viewer being the lover. The flickering light motivated from the projector has a hypnotic effect, and keeps the very simple images of Taylor performing in an empty room visually entrancing and alive. It’s just a lens flare, but its also the flickering light of memories.

There is a Dior stocking on the lens. Nothing but the best for Taylor.

Then I crispened up just the eyes again on my laptop.

The Canon is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but in the right situations it’s the best. Inexpensive, unobtrusive, versatile, sensitive and beautiful.

Projection was digital DSP. It would have been purer from film, but I am not a technical purist, and the budget was not all that.

The love making was shot in the morning, edited on set, grained and sprocket weaved with Bullet, and then projected on set that same afternoon.

There’s some of the un-compromised  innocence and sensuality of the 60’s  in the image itself: Jane Birkin, Marianne Faithful, Nico.

Of course now we know that the ’60s were neither innocent nor un-compromised.

William Reich found this out the hard way at Montauk some years earlier.

Something to wrap your head around: The person you are watching sing the song is eighteen, but the voice you are hearing singing is sixteen.

Writing this in summer 2013, with Fukushima spewing all over the Pacific, Russia and The US  at having swapped polarities

Mother do you think they’ll drop the bomb?

Here’s Roger Waters doing “Mother”and “Blue Sky” live with Sinead O’Connor  & Joni Mitchell. in 2010.

Whoever is calling the camera shots seems to be texting it in, but these women understand that body armor creates war, and the real power of being female.



Director : Meiert Avis

Producers: Jeremy Alter, Taylor Momsen & Meiert Avis

DP: Danny Hiele, master of bokeh.

Assistant bokeh:  Frederico Verardi

Production Designer: Philip Duffin

Editor: Iggi Ogard

Thank you for the camera: Charles Papert

Catlin O’Connor was Taylor’s body double.

Cesar De La Torre was the man.

Canon 1D MkIV with Zeiss optics.

Diffusion by Dior

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