David Knight - 21st Nov 2007

McCartney in Phil Griffin’s Ever Present Past videoPhil Griffin directs boy bands. That was the accepted wisdom for ages, and perfectly understandable, as during a ten-plus years directing career he’s been closely associated with disposable pop. But in the past year or so, since he directed three acclaimed videos for a proper artist, Amy Winehouse – for Rehab, I'm No Good and Back To Black – things have changed. A lot. In the past few months Phil’s directed two highly watchable and expressive videos for the one and only Prince. He's just completed a clip for Jon Bon Jovi and Lianne Rimes that stopped the traffic in NYC. And he's also directed this for Paul McCartney, which is probably as good as anything Macca’s done in years. Here Griffin used his experience as a choreographer, basing a routine around a ‘dance’ (in the broadest sense of the word) ad-libbed by McCartney. It was complicated and rather ingenious: Macca dances with sixteen mannequin-perfect girls in a stylish art gallery setting – but they were never filmed at the same time. McCartney enjoyed the process so much he stayed by his director’s side on the shoot for five days. What's more, they collaborated on creating the artworks that are featured – and change, during the course of the video – in the gallery: Phil's photography – a successful sideline he's developed recently – of Macca's hands and guitars. Macca leads the girls in the art gallery hand-jiveThis was a big production of course, but working with bigger artists has just emphasised Phil Griffin’s strengths: he’s a bit special when it comes to getting very good performances from these superstars. But if pop ever makes a comeback (as it probably will) would he be able to resist the lure of those boy bands…?

David Knight - 21st Nov 2007

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