Song of the Day: Il Grande Silenzio by Ennio Morricone

Today’s song of the day comes from Ennio Morricone’s score for the 1968 spaghetti western, The Great Silence.  Directed by Sergio Corbucci and featuring Jean-Louis Trintigant as a mute bounty hunter and Klaus Kinski as a savage outlaw, The Great Silence is one the darkest of the Italian westerns and Morricone’s elegiac score compliments the mood perfectly.

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)

Music Video of the Day: The Steps by HAIM (2020, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

I’m the youngest of four sisters and everyday, I’m thankful for that because I would seriously be so lost without them in my life.  I think that’s one reason why I like HAIM.  The Haim sisters remind me of my older sisters and that’s especially true in the video for The Steps.

The song, of course, is about a relationship that, if it hasn’t ended yet, is coming to an end.  The messiness of Haim’s morning routine perfectly mirrors the lyrics of the song, in which the narrator says that every time she tries to move forward, her lover gets mad at her for “making a mess.”  There’s something very liberating about HAIM’s messiness in this video.  It’s not just the fact that they’re throwing stuff all over the apartment and stumbling out of bed (which is the way I think most of us wake up but it’s something you rarely see in movies or music videos, where everyone wakes up refreshed and ready for a photo shoot) but it’s also the fact that there’s none of the fake glamour that you might expect to see in a music video like this.  It’s a song about freedom and being yourself and if that means making a mess then make a mess.  It’s a liberating song and a liberating video.  It’s not a video where HAIM tries to live up to some pop princess archetype.  This is a video that says, “This is who we are and fuck you if you can’t handle it.”

That said, I have to admit that I’m a compulsive cleaner and my natural instinct is to usually tidy up so my room has never looked as messy as my life.  I guess I should be happy about that because otherwise, I don’t think I’d ever be able to find anything.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay to be messy.  It’s okay to be neat.  What matters is that you’re being yourself and not allowing anyone to force you to try to be someone else.

This video, like most of HAIM’s recent videos, was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  The film critic Armond White has argued that Anderson’s work with HAIM is actually superior to most of his recent films and I think White might have a point.  (Before anyone starts yelling at me, I don’t care whether or not you like Armond White.  He’s a consistently interesting writer and someone has to be willing to be a contrarian.)  There’s a definitely naturalness to Anderson’s videos with HAIM, as if anything could happen at any moment.


Music Video of the Day: Try by Michael Penn (1997, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

I was going to do one of the videos that Paul Thomas Anderson directed for Haim today but I changed my mind at the last minute.  That’s nothing against Haim or the video.  Haim’s great and their videos — particularly the ones directed by Anderson — are frequently brilliant.  It’s just, for whatever reason, I knew that today was not the day to write about their video for The Steps.  That day will come soon.

Instead, I wrote about the video for Michael Penn’s Try.

Try was the very first music video to be directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  He directed it while he was editing Boogie Nights.  Michael Penn, of course, did the score for both Boogie Nights and Anderson’s earlier Hard Eight.  He can also be spotted in Boogie Nights, playing Nick in the recording studio and incredulously reacting to the efforts of Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothschild to record their own album.

When watching this video, pay attention to the blonde gentleman wearing the Planet of the Apes t-shirt.  He shows up twice and, at one point, holds the microphone into which Penn is singing.  If he looks familiar, that’s because he’s actor Philip Seymour Hoffman!  When I first saw the video, I honestly didn’t recognize him.  I just thought he was some random crew person who got the job because he could run fast enough to keep up with Penn.  Of course, once I learned that Hoffman was in the video and I rewatched it, I immediately spotted him.  I think it says something about what a good actor Hoffman was that, even in something like this, he could be so convincing that, despite being one of the most recognizable actors in the world, he still became somewhat anonymous.  He disappeared into the role.

Thomas Jane and Melora Waters (who played Todd and Jessie St. Vincent in Boogie Nights) are also in this video, standing at the end of a a long line of exhausted dancers.  (This was meant to be a reference to the film, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?)  There’s one other Boogie Nights reference, which is kind of interesting considering the fact that he and Anderson supposedly didn’t get along during filming.  Keep an eye out for door with a purple 9 on it.  That’s a reference to Burt Reynolds, who wore the number 9 when he played college football.


Song of the Day: Violaznioe Violenza by Ennio Morricone

Continuing our little tribute to Ennio Morricone, today’s song of the day comes the 1976’s Italian thriller, Hitch-Hike.  This is not one of Morricone’s better-known scores but it’s still one of my favorites.  The film’s pretty good, too.  Franco Nero vs. David Hess with a score by Ennio Morricone?  How couldn’t that be a classic?

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)

Music Video of the Day: Save Me by Saint Motel (2020, cinematography by Mario Contini)

Along with their “official” videos, Saint Motel also frequently releases videos for alternate versions of their songs.  This is for the acoustic version of Save Me, which can be found on The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album.

This video description on YouTube offers up only one credit — which is “cinematography by Mario Contini.”  I know that A/J Jackson is usually credited for directing the group’s videos (and, of course, he’s the band’s lead singer as well) but since I don’t have any official listing for a director, I’m just going to leave that credit blank.

Mario Contini, according the imdb, has worked on several music videos, including ones by Lady Gaga, Post Malone, and Muse.  I like the look of this video.  The band certainly has a talent for finding good locations in which to be filmed performing.