Your film captures the claustrophobic aspect of a relationship perfectly and it hauntingly lingers in the psyche long after viewing it. Unusually too it has generated an interesting and intelligent response from viewers on Youtube about the nature of passive / aggressive relationships. Are we reading too much into it or was this tone that you wanted to convey?
No it’s not necessarily something I was very willfully trying to convey but it’s how I was personally inspired by the song. I think it touches on the darker nature of what couples are usually in denial of or not revealing of. Not even to themselves. I know couples who have been 20-30 years, most of their lives in this kind of double bind. They stay like this even when they part, for years after they part. They can’t let go; they can’t resist the psychological pursuit. Even in their hearts. The wedding vow “till death do us part” is perhaps in some cases darkly prophetic.
Did the metaphorical device of using the walking couple come to you easily or did you play around with quite a few other scenarios before deciding on this?
I wrote a few things yes, and then I had him following her and then in my head I turned her round to face him. It made a leap then.
He takes the first step towards her. That’s not necessarily threatening. But her step back is distance. She is the distance regulator. She is calling the shot. And of course it looks bizarre, her walking backwards throughout.
Why Hove as a location?
It’s actually pretty much all shot in Southwick. It’s a little semi industrial area just west of Hove. After Massive said they liked it and wanted to make it I drove down there on a hunch. I’d never been there before. I literally drove straight in to the whole shoot. It was perfect; I found every single angle, road, tunnel, view, the exact strip of beech, everything, all in sequence. Thinking back it was pretty weird.
The performance particularly of the woman is subtle yet emotional without over acting. How did you go about directing her – was there time for rehearsals?
There was time for a brief sort of rehearsal and workshop in the morning but we’re talking 15 minutes. Once we were out we had to go quick, we had a lot to do.
My initial conversation with Arta on the phone was good, she got the whole thing, the thinking, and she loved it. I said from the off, you are in complete control. Your entire performance is one of defiance.
What were the most challenging aspects of the production and how did you resolve them?
I have learnt that there is absolutely no point doing a promo unless you are trying to do something very special. Which is never easy because there is no money really. I mean literally no money. Just a little just to get the ball rolling. So you’re asking a lot of favors and banking on a lot of love and time and willing from everyone, even from yourself. This makes it a challenge but it also makes it great. Of course the good will to Massive Attack is immense and they have an extraordinary habit and reputation for good music promos so that helps inspire and unite.
Artist: Massive Attack featuring Ghostpoet
Label: Virgin EMI
Manager: Marc Picken (West Management)
Video Commissioner: James Hackett
Actor: Arta Dobroshi (Curtis Brown)
Actor: Jonathan Aris (George Monkland)
Director: Ed Morris
Executive Producer: Andy Orrick
Producer: Polly du Plessis
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Lighting Cameraman: Franz Lustig
Editor: Flaura Atkinson
Edit House: The Quarry
Sound Company: Smoke and Mirrors
Sound Design/Mixer: Scott Little
Dialogue Writer: Eve Mahoney
Colour: The Mill
Colourist: Seamus O’Kane
VFX & Design: The Mill
Producer: Jack Williams
2D Artists: Nina Mossand, Dan Adams, Jeanette Eiternes
Motion Graphics: Kwok Fung Lam, Stephanie Dewhirst