Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"Elegia" by New Order + More by Mark Osborne

Sometimes visuals and audio, like a film and a song, come together to create a poignant work of art that changes the meaning of both elements involved. Once interlinked, each serves a completely new purpose. Like when a song accompanies a scene in a film (take, for instance, "Mad World" and "Head Over Heels" in Donnie Darko), or when a music video brings a song to life (quite literally, like "Kiss of Life" by Friendly Fires), or when a song is chosen to stand-in for a lack of dialogue: to act as the voice of an otherwise voiceless visual piece. Such a thing transpired when filmmaker/animator Mark Osborne used New Order's "Elegia" for his short film, More. He created perfect harmony.

As prolific as New Order was, "Elegia" is one of their most profound, and most unusual, songs. Sure, I love "Shellshock," "Age of Consent," "Ceremony," and so many others, but "Elegia" is just...unreal. For one thing, it's 17 and a half minutes long. A shorter, more "radio-friendly" version was released on their album Low-Life, in 1985, but the full version is available on the 2008 Collector's Edition Bonus Disc (there are five albums, with bonus discs, in the series). The band has supposedly stated that "Elegia," an elegy, was written in memory of Ian Curtis. It is an epic, morose tribute that has nothing to do with "Bizarre Love Triangle."

"Elegia" is dramatic and dynamic, long and sweeping, dark and gaping; and while it was oddly placed in a dramatic scene of Pretty In Pink, Mark Osborne knew how to use it best.

Stop-motion and claymation are no easy feats (I should know, I've tried 'em), but Osborne breathes such life, and such misery, into his clay character. Through this "man," we glimpse into the dystopian future, or maybe a symbolic representation of the world in which we already live. We feel for him, and through him, without words.

The short film screened in over 150 film festivals worldwide and was the first IMAX animated film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, in 1999. But while it is brilliant and evocative in its own right, I do think it draws some of of its power, and emotional edges, from its marriage with "Elegia:" that nearly endless elegy for the tragic loss of a friend. Like I said...perfect. harmony.

Please watch, and watch again.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it's 17 and also a half mins long. A shorter, much more "radio-friendly" edition was unveiled on their album Low-Life,
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