Essential: Works is an interview format that Directors Library regularly hosts with film and video Directors. We ask directors to name three key and influential works under the film, campaign and music video categories. The series aims to broaden horizons of reference and acknowledge works from the back catalogue.
For our fifteenth instalment, we got in touch with Casper Balslev.
You can check out Casper’s latest short below and other work on the link.
End Of the Rainbow (2019)
Directed by Casper Balslev
Below are Casper’s picks and what he had to say:
Essential: Films – Casper Balslev
I had to go with three film directors that inspire me. I have always watched tons of film. As a young kid I used to rent a large amount of films at the local video store. I also used to stay up late on my own to watch films on TV. Especially films like Carrie, Alien, The Fly, Robocop and old Russ Meyer films made a big impact on me. I have probably watched “The Empire Strikes back” about a hundred times plus – but it’s not my favourite film. Recent films I really enjoyed include “Eighth Grade” and ”Mid90s”.
1. The Coen Brothers
I just love their characters and off beat storylines. They seem to really have an interest in digging up stories from different regions across America and its history. The Coen brothers clearly love all the characters they portray and seem to have fun with them at the same time. I love both the level of violence and humour they can pull off in their films. A film like “Fargo” I have watched over 30 times, it is a flawless film.
2. David Lynch
I saw a few episodes of “Twin Peaks” back in the days when it first came out. But, I was too young, and wasn’t ready for it at the time. The film that really got me into Lynch was “Lost Highway”. It completely blew my head off the first time I saw it. The David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails music, the dark and disturbing images, the romantic and sexual driven characters, the crazy storyline structure, the moody side of Los Angeles it portrayed. “The Elephant man” is the most beautiful and heartbreaking film ever created. It is one of very few films that can make me cry every time I see it. Like the Coen Brothers, Lynch also seems to have a deep interest in mundane, everyday characters. He knows how to portray them.
3. Stanley Kubrick
He was the first filmmaker I became really obsessed with, and I still am. He started as a photojournalist. I think I can relate to this, since I studied photojournalism myself. There is clearly a documentary touch and approach to a lot of his films. Kubrick also challenged the medium more than most and especially the structure of his films. “2001 – A space Odyssey” is probably the most uncompromised piece of cinema ever created.
Essential: Music Videos – Casper Balslev
1. All is full of Love – Bjork (1999)
Directed by Chris Cunningham
I remember MTV premiering it one afternoon back in 1999 or so. I was blown away. It was probably around this moment, I dreamt of doing a music video myself for the first time. I love Chris Cunningham. Especially this video. It’s so simple, pure, emotional and erotic.
2. The Shoes: Time to Dance (2012)
Directed by Daniel Wolfe
A more recent one, actually it’s a few years old now, but it holds up. It’s fascinating on many levels. The story, the character, the indie band, the Hollywood actor in it. It’s a full feature film experience in less than ten minutes.
3. Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack (1991)
Directed by Baillie Walsh →
When It came out in the mid 90s I really hated it. I thought it was so boring to sit through whenever it aired on tv. But then slowly I started to notice details and elements in the video, that as I grew older I learned to appreciate more. Now its clear that its “docu -fiction” style was ahead of its time. I just love the simplicity of it.
Essential: Commercials – Casper Balslev
I have always liked commercials, especially as a kid I loved watching them on TV.
1. Roy Anderson Commercials
I love the commercials directed by Swedish director Roy Anderson. All of them are so simple and sharp. Tons of dark understated humour and great characters.
2. Surfer – Guiness (1998)
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
It’s so well crafted on all levels. The twenty seconds long opening portrait. The voice-over work. The epicness of it. That tiny zoom in and out effect on the pack shot. This commercial is ultra tight and I have not seen anything like it ever since.
3. David Lynch: PS2 (2000)
Directed by David Lynch
Love the shouting kid in the end. It made me by a PS2. Overall David Lynch has made some pretty wacky and cool commercials.
As an added bonus: Casper also has an Instagram dedicated to his time spent in airports: