Sunday, 18 October 2009

Shynola "Strawberry Swing" (Coldplay 2009)

I sent off what has turned out to be today's review to Andrew Allen at Short of the Week. He'd already posted a review from Jason Sondhi here when I was on my hols.

Last week at the UK Music Video Awards Strawberry Swing gained an impressive three category wins, including the coveted Video of the Year. Downloaded already by nearly one million YouTube browsers, the fact that it is the latest official video for Coldplay helps of course. But we focus on the movies here. A mix of stop motion and live action, the video features the lead singer cast in the role as super hero intent on saving a drowning lady. Off he leaps into the air in a desperate attempt to save the day, beating biplane, hitch-hiking clouds, using his umbrella both to fend off missiles from a dastardly giant squirrel as well as elude the attentions of an equally massive catfish. Add a spot of leaping off high buildings as any self-respecting superhero should and you have the idea. Strawberry Swing was produced by Shynola a London based studio formed by four graduates from The Kent Institute of Art and Design. Chris Harding, Richard Kenworthy and Jason Groves spent three months making the piece, a long time for a music video when time is of the essence. Chris Martin in the role of caped rescuer enters into the spirit of the piece, twisting like an acrobat. The star however is the technique, chalk drawings painstakingly animated as backdrop or accompanying character, like squirrel or distressed damsel. The directors inventively fill the four minutes or so with wit and incident. The chalk girl and superstar singer make a fine pair as they fly, James Bond style, from the bushy tailed rodent having given him an explosive present. A final sad note. The directors made this only months after the sudden death almost exactly a year ago of their co-director, Gideon Baws, the fourth founding member of the team. He was only 33 and loved by those who worked with him.

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