Sound And Vision: Jim Taihuttu

Contributing Writer; The Netherlands
Sound And Vision: Jim Taihuttu

In the article series Sound and Vision we take a look at music videos from notable directors. This week we take a look at several music videos from Yellow Claw, directed by Jim Taihuttu.

Jim Taihuttu is a Dutch director whose new film Hardcore Never Dies is a breakout hit in Dutch cinemas, and is becoming a festival staple. The film is set in the nineties during the heyday of Gabber culture, a quintessentially Dutch style of beat heavy Electronic music that got famous worldwide. It won't be the last time we will feature Dutch Gabber Culture in this series, as several internationally famous Dutch directors rose to fame with gabber visuals.

Taihuttu's first few films were semi-serious drama films, sometimes with a crime edge. He courted some controversy from conservative Dutch media figures with De Oost, a film that takes a frank look at Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, a subject which is still fraught in some parts of Dutch society. He is not the first person you think of for making a "Dutch Trainspotting" but he is a better fit than you would expect. He is in fact a techno DJ himself, working within the technopopband Yellow Claw, which after some big hits in Dutch, tried catering to the American market with moderate success.

One of the reasons Yellow Claw never got "Tiƫsto-famous" (yes, he is Dutch too) might be the debauchery in their music videos. Most of these music videos were directed by Taihuttu, sometimes with his frequent collaborator Victor D. Ponten. Even for the sexualized standards within the genre, some of these videos will be Too Hot For MTV. They border on the pornographic, focussing lustingly on the breasts of scantily clad women being drenched in alcohol. The women here are more than objectified, they are interchangeable. They serve no other reason than to be the embodiment of the word "party", not individually, but as a group.

The hedonistic pleasures of these videos are mostly lost on me, as a leftist gay genderqueer person, but Taihuttu has a deft eye for style and a certain signature as a director. You recognize his style as a music video director instantly. That his films are much different is surprising. They are more mature and grizzly, with a dramatic heft that shows a good grip on storytelling and directing actors. It is a far cry from the tittyshaking bacchanalia of his music videos. I have not seen Hardcore Never Dies yet, but I'm curious how Taihuttu will straddle the line between his two styles, now that he is, at least in regards to story, inching closer to his other claim to fame, as a king of the nightlife.

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