I’ve been playing music with my kids on Thursday and Fridays afternoons when they enjoy half-days at school (you have to love Italy!). Today I decided to revisit the indie band Cults, which I first discovered back in the Summer of 2011 while searching for Brian Oblivion on the internet. The guitarist goes by the moniker Brian Oblivion, which means he has to be in the know 🙂 Anyway, there music was hauntingly beautiful, and I guess they made somewhat of a splash in the indie music scene. But what I hadn’t seen before was their music video for the song “Go Outside” directed by Isaiah Seret. Boing Boing featured the video back in the Summer of 2011 (a fertile time for creative energies) with a director’s disclaimer of sorts:
For this music video we didn’t want to put a spin on the footage or the peoples lives—instead we wanted to re-tell and humanize their story. In order to achieve this we used a combination of stock footage, visual effects and other tricks to embed the band into the historical footage. This was achieved through my collaboration with my visual effects supervisor Bill Gillman and my cinematographer Matthew Lloyd. Lastly, I am moved to say when we completed the video we were able to preview it for some of the survivors of the Jonestown Massacre, who expressed their appreciation of our focus on the lives of the People’s Temple members as opposed to exploiting the graphic images of the final tragedy.
In a Forrest Gump-like approach, Seret places both Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin into the archival footage of the various scenes featuring members of the religious cult. The video highlights a sense of deliverance through singing, dancing, and general sense of euphoria, and as Seret notes it intentionally avoids the horrific results. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find this video, I guess I can chalk it up to the fact that the internet is a pretty big place, but it certainly struck me almost five years after its release.