Sound And Vision: Richard Bates Jr.

Contributing Writer; The Netherlands
Sound And Vision: Richard Bates Jr.

In the article series Sound and Vision we take a look at music videos from notable directors. This week we look at White Lung's Below, directed by Richard Bates Jr.

Richard Bates Jr. made an impressive debut with Excision, a gory coming-of-age horror with a powerful central performance for AnnaLynne McCord. In it, a young woman who has an obsession with blood and bodies, goes very far to get back at the people who hurt her and save her sister. It plays like a mix between John Hughes and Jörg Buttgereit (Hughes Buttgereit, heheheheh), and is exactly as fucked-up as that sentence seems to imply.

While Richard Bates Jr. never really fulfilled the promise of Excision, films like Tone-deaf, Trash Fire and King Knight have their passionate defenders, counting me among them. His films are roaring, angry, juvenile movies, in the best sense of that word. He also wears his influences on his sleeves: he didn't cast John Waters in Excision by accident.

When looking at the music video Richard Bates Jr. made, you can also see the influence of his forebears looming over him. It is also, like many of his films, a shout: an emotional, gutteral reaction, without hesitance or holding back. In this case, the video is an extended hommage to David Lynch, especially the Club Silencio scene from Mullholland Drive. There, Rebekah Del Rio performs on a very similar stage and spotlight, before collapsing on stage, revealing herself to be lip syncing. Bates Jr. doesn't go as far as to copy that concept, but that the homage is intentional is seen in one shot in which two of the audience members listening to the performance by White Lung, are seen sitting in the exact same pose as the protagonists of Mulholland Drive in a now-iconic shot.

Here, the concept differentiates itself by adding an homage to starlet Marilyn Monroe. All people in the audience, women of many shapes, sizes, ages and races, are seen dressed as the icon. Spurred on by the performance of the band, the Monroe's eventually start to scream and wail, lead by a harrowing center performance of AnnaLynne McCord, who proves herself to be an excellent collaborator for Bates Jr. yet again. It might not be the most original piece I've ever featured in Sound and Vision, it is a stylish video that packs a punch. It's well worth checking out.

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