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 third instalment, we got in touch with Matilda Finn.
You can check out Matilda’s latest music video below and other work on the link.
Tricks – Sophie Hunger (2018)
Directed by Matilda Finn
Below are Matilda’s picks and what she had to say:
Essential: Films – Matilda Finn
Ok, this is so hard and I most definitely don’t have a top 5 let alone a top 3 – so I just quick-draw’d these and went with my first thoughts. Ps. I don’t think this will be the pinnacle of film education, sorry!
1. Fight Club (1999)
Directed by David Fincher
Quite simply this is the ‘feels like home’ of movies for me. The storyline is so complex and yet it’s the most pleasurable and easiest films to watch. It’s SO tight, everything is there for a reason. It really strikes the perfect balance in film making. One of the main take aways for me is the use of VFX, which Fincher is consistent with in his work. It is never used for the spectacle of VFX but purely for the submersion of the narrative. At the time it had some of the best VFX to date, but I’d say arguably it still does have the best VFX to date: its not generic and it has its own style.
Honestly, watching fight club is like a trip for me, and its fucking ageless. Also, all hail 1999 – so many great films came out that year, probably because we all thought we were going to die in year 2000.
2. Fantasia (1940)
Directed by Many →
This was one of the two films I watched on repeat as a child, the other being Zulu (Cy Endfield, 1964). They are both beauty and sound at its best, and therefore extremely developmental for me. I’m pretty sure they are responsible for throwing my imagination into hyperdrive. Also, I realise they are a bit dark for childhood films, but that explains a lot.
3. Chungking Express (1994)
Directed by Wong Kar Wai
The discovery of Wong Kar Wai was very transformative for me. At the time I was really struggling to find ways of communicating a narrative through movement, as I was trying to move from stills to video. Watching ‘Chungking Express’ and ‘Fallen Angels’ was like a school of capturing moments and feelings, which was the best place to start for me at the time. Also those films have no ‘rules’: the mix of techniques, especially to do with speed (step printing), is extremely photographic. To me his work was really about how it makes you feel, and I took a lot away from watching his work.
‘Three Kings’ (David O. Russell, 1999) also did this for me, in terms of it didn’t abide by any ‘rules’. I lost my shit when I watched it, as it was on a Hollywood platform with huge actors. That really got me excited.
& other extremely notable and life-changing mentions: ‘Birth’, ’Kwaidan’, ’The Matrix’, ‘Tokyo Drifter’, ‘Memento’, ’Romeo & Juliet’(1999) , ’Belle De Jour’, ’Orphée’ , ‘Requiem for a dream’ , ’Nikita’ , ’City of God’ ,’Vanilla Sky’, ‘Playtime’… alright, I’ll stop.
Essential: Music Videos – Matilda Finn
1. Rabbit in the Headlights – U.N.K.L.E (1998)
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
I think for some this might seem like ‘an obvious choice’, but to me it is what it is: the best.
I always looked at this as what I wish people would see music videos for, which is a video for the track, and not just the artist. The track is what should determine the video, unfortunately, the video is usually seen as an extension to the artist’s ego, as we seem to have little faith in audiences and their capacity to love art instead of idolising people.
This track is a soundtrack to a scene in a film, and this is what Glazer does flawlessly.
2. Vince Staples – Señorita (2015)
Directed by Ian Pons Jewell
I remember the first time watching this I just thinking, alrighty then I’ll just stop right here (my career, not me watching it). It’s easily one of the best music videos in the last decade and one of the best endings of all time. It’s a shotgun blow to the head of reality, yet told in a beautiful dreamscape. And it’s a perfect example of narrative and performance in one setting, Ian does this a lot by utilising other characters to ‘narrate’, I have never seen it done so perfectly as the guy in the opening of this with the Vince bible reciting Futures verse.
3. Frozen – Madonna (1998)
Directed by Chris Cunningham
This choice is a lot to do with editing. I think this is actually one of the most inspiring pieces across the board to me because of how fucking seamless it is. The bit where her material turns into the dog marginally turns me on, it’s that good. Cunningham obviously reigns music videos, and there is any number I could put here that he did. But I do adore this video so much, I think also because it’s for a big pop star matters, as it gives faith that if the track is right you can make an amazing video for anyone.
Someone told me Cunningham hates it though, oops 🙁
Essential: Commercials – Matilda Finn
1. Machine – Radio Soulwax (2011) NSFW
Directed by Saam Farahmand →
A seamless advert, its basically a music video:
2. Power Of Wind – Epuron (2007)
Directed by The Vikings
Hilarious, so fucking clever, simplistic & unreal casting.
3. Beat The Devil – BMW (2002)
Directed by Tony Scott →
Another piece that uses multiple different techniques in beautiful ways, but in the format of a commercial. Although the BMW series were shorts and the point I think was to capitalise on the directors name, which is probably why they were so good.
The BMW shorts are one of my favourite concepts for commercials, they recently rebooted for one, and I hope they continue. Who doesn’t want to shoot car chase scenes?
4. Flake Commercial
* Technically doesn’t count because banned.
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
It’s just the best commercial and the story behind it is the hardest industry legend ever.