Our Essential series is an interview format we run with film and video directors. We ask directors to name 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 catalog.
You can check out one of Hiro’s recent music videos below:
‘sad day’ FKA twigs (2020)
Directed by Hiro Murai
Below are Hiro’s picks and what he had to say:
Hi. I’m bad at making lists, so I’ll just take this opportunity to share some thoughts on what I’ve watched (and rewatched) in the past year. Hope you enjoy.
Sans Soleil (Sunless) (1983)
Directed by Chris Marker
This film was recommended to me by my buddy (and editor) Kyle when I was watching a bunch of travelogue movies last year. Watching this in quarantine was a totally disorienting and visceral experience. It feels like a documentary about the collapse of space and time narrated by a wistful alien. It’s incredible and made me think a lot about the act of filmmaking.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
This was my favorite movie as a child, and having rewatched it last month it might still be. It’s so intimate and well observed. It’s like an Ozu movie that happens to have a giant cat-shaped bus in it. And Mei is my favorite depiction of a kid in any film ever.
Directed by Lee Chang-dong
I keep coming back to this movie since it came out in 2018. That scene in the middle of the film where the three characters get high and Jeon Jong-seo’s character starts dancing during twilight is all I want out of movies. I’ve been tearing through all of Lee-chang Dong’s movies since.
Some Kind of Heaven (2020)
Directed by Lance Oppenheim
I just watched this documentary last night and thought it was beautiful. It’s garish and refined and nauseating and poignant. I also love anything filmed in 4:3.
Directed by Miloš Forman
Essential: Music Videos
I have a long long list of music videos that mean a lot to me, but here are a couple I think about a lot.
‘Sing Along’ Múm (2009)
Directed by Kevin Phillips
I saw this when I first started directing videos and found it really inspiring. Kevin is a genius.
‘After Life’ Arcade Fire (2009)
Directed by Emily Kai Bock
Story-driven videos are really hard to pull off, but I think this one’s a total masterpiece.
‘Drop’ The Pharcyde (1995)
Directed by Spike Jonze
Pretty sure this is what made me want to direct music videos.
‘Faking Jazz Together’ Connan Mockasin (2012)
I used to have a recurring dream that felt exactly like this video. Once in a while, I get a weird craving for it.
‘Underwear’ FM Belfast (2010)
Directed by Daniels
This was the first Daniels video I ever saw, and it blew me away. When I met them, the first thing I told them was that I was stealing their “floating particle” technique for a video (I think I was drunk). My video was nowhere near as good as this one.
‘King’s Dead’ Jay Rock (2018)
Directed by Dave Free & Jack Begert
This video has the weirdest swag & I love it. I’ve seen it countless times.
I’m breaking the rules, sorry.
‘A Swim in a Pond in the Rain’ (2021)
Written by George Saunders
I’m reading George Saunders’ ‘A Swim in a Pond’ right now and it’s the best book I’ve ever read on storytelling.
- Hiro Murai