Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kanye West's RUNAWAY - TheSuperDuperDopeLife x Carroll & Co. Film Review

Pablo Picasso famously said “All children are artists; the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” We are all brought into this world as creative expressive beings but we soon learn that it is socially unacceptable to express ourselves and be free-spirited. This is the underlying theme in Kanye West’s 34 minute film “Runaway”, as well as in his life and controversial career.In the film Kanye encounters a phoenix that falls from the sky brand new to this world and without any preconceived ideas about what is acceptable here and how we operate. As she is taken under Kanye’s wing she quickly realizes that this world does not accept things that are strange or different. She realizes that she must “burn” to escape this place before it turns her into stone as was the fate of many before her. Kanye used many different metaphors for this theme of forced complacency for example; there was a scene that featured a bust of Michael Jackson surrounded by hooded figures. Kanye explained this scene as representing the cult-like pop music world. It could also be used as an example of a creative person who was praised but often put down by many because he was so misunderstood. The world that loved him and hated him turned him into “stone”. There is also a child in that scene who is first seen running freely with a torch but ends up exactly like all of the other hooded figures. There was a serene yard with gentle animals that the phoenix often visited that represented her innocence and naiveté. Peaceful scenes like that were contrasted by fiery and powerful moments. The actual performance of the song Runaway was intense; it grabs the attention of the audience with the image of ballerinas whose graceful movements somehow mesh perfectly with the harsh lyrics. The song loosely foreshadows the ending of the film as the phoenix runs away from this world that would have inevitably hurt her. The imagery in the film was remarkable and could have stood on its own even without a storyline or plot. The experience was like walking through a museum and every beautiful painting you passed opened itself up so that you could step into the moment the artist was capturing.Kanye has mentioned bringing Runaway to the theatre. If this were to happen there are a few things that would need to be tweaked such as the acting and length. The plot would have more time to develop and the piece would turn into more of story rather than performance art. This would be an amazing chance for a new cross-section of our culture to experience the theatre. It would be breathtaking to see on stage.As with everything Kanye does, there has been criticism of the film which is ironic because the film itself mirrors its own message- people who don’t understand it try to dismiss it as an overly ambitious failure. Art can be defined in so many ways but at its core it is human emulation of the world around them. Kanye was interpreting his experiences, and the ones we see every day in our culture, in his own creative way. Who can say that what he showed us was right or wrong? This project brought a type of art to a very broad audience who most likely would have never been exposed to anything like it.Art should make its audience feel something- this film accomplished just that- it also had people thinking and talking. Music has to change; it has to evolve and move forward. We can’t put a gag over someone’s mouth when they try to facilitate that movement. We owe Kanye for being willing to put himself out there for us time after time. He writes, produces, and performs his own music and he puts his heart and soul into everything he does. Kanye does it again with this film; he does not have extensive training or experience in film making and he certainly is not the greatest actor but he openly lets us see his trial, error, and growth and lets us see into his mind knowing that there are people waiting to tear it apart.He gave our often numb generation something to feel. Kudos, Kanye.

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