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Balthazar 'Sinking Ship' by Joe Vanhoutteghem

David Knight - 11th June 2013

As aficianados of his videos for The Hickey Underworld will attest, Joe Vanhoutteghem's work is unique - a bleak, disturbing, violent, grubby, weirdly fathomless vision of the world. He brings the true irrationality of a nightmare to those videos to create a very striking horror – or very strange comedy.  

Now he's turned his attention to another Belgian band, Balthazar, and created a new nightmare for their song Sinking Ship - once again shot in a distinctively dingy half-light by his DoP Nicolas Karakatsanis, with the signature shabby art direction by Tanker. 

It begins with a man belting himself around the head with a hammer, and creating a permanent shadow, or stain on the wall, of which he himself his also stained. And then he goes out into the world, to be chased by people running in herds. But eventually finds a girl, who's got a few problems of her own... 

Joe Vanhoutteghem: "I would prefer to have the viewers explaining the meaning of the video; it's always fun to read those theories on Youtube. Obviously the song is about disappointment, about a broken love. The girl lost herself into temptation. And there’s no hope, only darkness. I wanted to visualise her sad side by showing the darkness.

"This man finds himself alone and abandoned at night. The only way to find peace is to hit himself unconscious.  He hits the light that falls and casts big shadows. In the morning light the shadows are still there, on the walls and on his body like dark stains from the night. The man escapes his house, this sad forsaken cave but he takes along the darkness wherever he goes.

"Nobody tolerates sad people in this world and they happily start chasing him. He runs into a hideout where people seem to understand him. He meets the girl and the stains are gone, there is a bit of hope again. The music starts supporting that hope and suddenly the people start dancing in the same happy and uniform way.  Even the band is worried now and the man gets scared. He hurries out and saves the girl from the happy mob.

"The night is beautiful and he takes her back to his warm cave. They make love. In the morning he loses every hope cause she’s showing her sad side again. She got dark stains and the only way to get rid of them is to knock her out.

"(Any other meaning is fine for me too)"

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David Knight - 11th June 2013


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Joe Vanhoutteghem
Nele Carlier
Production Company
Executive Producer
Eurydice Gysel


Director of Photography
Nicolas Karakatsanis
Focus Puller
Kristof Meert


Dries De Paepe
Annechien Tielens


Ann Lauwerys
Sanne Schoofs


Lead actor
Stefan Jakiela
Elise Crombez


Joost Vande


Post production company
Post Producer
Bieke De Keersmaecker


2nd unit director
Grimm Vandekerckhove
Clapper Loader
Chloe Lemonne
Art Direction

David Knight - 11th June 2013

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