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David Knight - 7th June 2018

Christine & The Queens returns with the hugely catchy Girlfriend, and a new street urchin-style look which fits perfectly with the idea for the Jordan Bahat's video, inspired by the amazing photography of New York skyscraper construction workers in the 1920s and '30s.

Bahat makes Chris the hero of a beautiful studio-based version of the original, vertigo-inducing setting, marshalling her fellow workers to dance with her in this building site in the sky - and employing exceptional rear screen projection to create another dimension to the the essential theatricality of the video. 

JORDAN BAHAT:

"Chris came to me with some of Charles Ebbets’ photos from the 1930’s of builders relaxing on girders sixty stories up in the air and said, “these are the sorts of scenes I want to create for this video”. Along with those pictures, there were color references from Tarsem and Peter Greenaway, choreography references from West Side Story and Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’, as well as concepts around masculinity and gender.

"It was just a very specific set of ideas built around a personal message to be told through the video. And while I normally work from scratch on my own concepts, it was clear that Chris was thinking really deeply about imagery and it made sense to work through the video in a creative dialogue. 

"Still, there was a lot left to figure out in terms how we translate those ideas visually. For example, we had to arrive at the balance between realism and the artificial — and between modernity and nostalgia. I proposed we fully embrace the artifice of the theater — with Coppola’s One From The Heart as a key style reference — and approach the video as much as possible with the actual technical systems of a classical Hollywood musical from the 1950s. Happily, Chris was fully on-board and, for the most part (but for two green-screen shots) we did just that.

"Of course, doing it that way is much more complicated. Everything from the details of the set-design to the decision to use a massive rear-screen projection as our backdrop had to be totally mapped out in advance. As it turns out, our rear-screen projection (a technique rarely used in the last 50 years) was roughly 23m x 6m in dimension and one of the biggest ever put on film. With Chris in Paris, me in Los Angeles, the city panorama to be shot in Detroit, and the set-production in Kiev, it was a lot to shape in a very short amount of time and across four cities. 

"Still, approaching the video in a classical style allowed us to be much more specific with our color palette, textures, and staging - and it gives the imagery a funky in-camera style that, despite how intentionally fake it is, there’s an organic quality that you wouldn’t quite get if you were doing it all with a big green-screen and CGI. In the end, for better or worse, there’s very little in the video that’s unintentional. And knowing Chris and how specific her messaging is as an artist, it felt like the right way to go. Thankfully, in working together, we both agreed to commit to doing it the right way, even if it scared us.

"In all, I think everybody who contributed stepped out of their comfort zone to try and make something unique."

Credits

DirectorJordan Bahat
ProducerJeremy Martin
Production CompanyCaviar
Executive ProducerCeline Roubaud
EditorNiles Howard
VFX CompanyMathematic
Post ProducerNadege Moreau
CompositorAnthony Lyant
VFX SupervisorStephane Vogel
ColouristPaul Yacono
Grading companya52
ProducerJenny Bright
Service CompanyLimelite, Kiev
Executive ProducerVlad Bolelov
ProducerNastya Ivaschuk
1st ADGrits Makarenko
Production designerMisha Levchenko
GafferEugene Vivcharyk
Production ManagerMax Matveev
Focus PullerKostyantyn Vivcharenko
HairLera Gornostay
Make-upTamriko Levchenko
WardrobeKostya Goncharenko
LabelBecause Music
Director's RepresentationOB Management
Director of PhotographyJallo Faber
Other creditsStoryboard Artist: Mike Jasorka Rear Projection Team: Front Pictures Plate Unit Detroit DP: Geoff George Location Manager: Dave Krieger Dancers: Eva Ndiaye, Roman Guillermic, Jeremie Parent, Josh Wild, David Cottle, Liza Laepart Special Thanks to: Mike Gioulakis

David Knight - 7th June 2018

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