Our Essentials 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 The Blaze’s music videos below:

‘Territory’ The Blaze (2017)

Directed by The Blaze

Below are Jonathan’s picks and what he had to say:

Essential: Films

Amores Perros (2000)

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

I think it’s the first movie that impacted me and made me want to enroll into a cinema school to become a director. I was perhaps eleven when I first saw it, and to be honest I fell asleep 2 times watching it, but still… It’s a very important movie for me. I was impacted by the structure, 3 destinies crossing one another, 3 stories in one. The energy of the handheld camera. The almost documentary and realness of the scenes – like the violence of the dog fight. The music from Control Machete. It is a really explosive cocktail. I had never seen anything like that before. And the fact that it’s Alejandro’s first feature film… it is unbelievable.

Forest Gump (1994)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

I wish that Forest Gump wasn’t made yet and the chance to get my hands on the script. For me, this movie is the perfect definition of what Cinema with a big C. I didn’t have the chance to watch it in a movie theatre, but I’m sure that it is the best way to watch it. This movie has everything. It’s intimate but at the same time, it’s grandiose. You laugh, you cry, you get mad, you get sad… the hero is not really a hero. What an epic story, what a movie…

Tree of Life (2011)

Directed by Terrence Malick

For me, this movie is a limitless source of inspiration. It’s pure poetry. I understand people can be disturbed by the lack of classic storytelling. But Malick tells us so much more with just images and music. It’s a new form of narration, a new form of cinema. And I admire directors who take risks to innovate. Don’t watch it as a movie, watch it as a poem.

Essential: Music Videos

‘Stress’ Justice (2008)

Directed by Romain Gavras

I wasn’t into ‘music video’ at the time. I didn’t really care about it. But when I saw Stress for the first time, something happened. This music video opened up so many questions to me. Why is this so real? Is it a documentary or fiction? When the guy is smashing the guitar at Montmartre is that real? Are they actors or real people? Why are the images so powerful? Why does the editing fit so well with the music? I needed answers.

‘Stress’ became the masterpiece that made me want to try to do music videos.

‘Pass This On’ The Knife (2003)

Directed by Johan Renck

This music video has something magical. I don’t know how to describe it. It has this little something that makes it captivating. The music video doesn’t make any sense and I think this why I love it. I like the fact that you are suddenly in this strange world with a singer who manages to bewitch the audience. It also takes place in real-time. The music is 4 min and so is the action. Now, as I’m writing this, I think it had been an inspiration for ‘Virile’. But way before ‘Virile’, there was ‘Mellowmoon’ which was my first music video ever! As you can see, ‘Pass This On’ was a huge inspiration.

‘Iron Sky’ Paolo Nutini (2014)

Directed by Daniel Wolfe

I love when I see something and wonder how was it done. This music video is one of the most powerful music videos I have ever seen. The music and the images are powerful but there is also something else. Daniel reaches to capture such a level of sincerity in each of the characters in the film. 0% of the film feels fake. It touched me – really impressive.

Essential: Commercials

‘L’envol’ Air France (2011)

Directed by Angelin Preljocaj

The video speaks for itself. It is pure poetry.

‘Find Your Greatness’ Nike (2012)

Directed by Lance Acord

I really love the simplicity of this commercial. It’s unique. It is full of hope – brilliant.

‘Home on the Road’ Volvo (2018)

Directed by Miles Jay

A friend of mine recently showed me the work of this director. I love it. Once again, I really admire the simplicity and all the poetry that emanates from his work.

The Blaze
Director