For over a decade, between the late eighties and the early noughties, Mark Romanek established himself as one of the premier music video directors. Ever. Having worked with the best of the best – David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, Coldplay, U2 and most recently Taylor Swift – Romanek is highly regarded by clients and peers for his professionalism, perfectionism and consistent excellence. His Kubrickian approach to film design has, on occasion, seen him hailed as an heir apparent, although Romanek’s work offers an affecting human quality – a feature many have long pointed out is sorely lacking in Stanley Kubrick work.
One of Romanek’s most notable works is the video for ‘Closer’ by Nine Inch Nails. Critical acclaimed, it was heavily censored by MTV with many accusing the video as being disturbing and demonic, however both it and ‘Bedtime Story’ (Madonna) have since been made part of the permanent collection at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York. The video for Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ has been hailed by many as the most personal and moving music video ever made. The song expresses the futility of worldly accomplishments and came at a time when Cash was nearing the end of his life, giving the video more poignancy. ‘Scream’, a collaboration between superstar siblings Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson cost $7 million to make and is cited as the most expensive ever made, although this has been refuted by Romanek himself on several occasions. The pyrotechnics utilised for ‘Cochise’, in which the band Audioslave perform in the midst of a dramatic fireworks display, were so loud during the night shoot in the San Fernando Valley that local police and fire departments received hundreds of calls from residents who feared that a terrorist attack was under way.
‘Scream’ Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
‘Shake It Off’ Taylor Swift
‘Bedtime Story’ Madonna
‘Can’t Stop’ Red Hot Chili Peppers
‘Closer’ Nine Inch Nails
‘Got Til It’s Gone’ Janet Jackson feat. Q-Tip
‘Jump They Say’ David Bowie
‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ Lenny Kravitz
‘Hurt’ Johnny Cash
Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go screens at The Arch Café in Leeds city centre on Saturday 27 February from 4pm, read our full preview here. The feature presentation will be preceded by a selection of short films. As always, there’ll be free cake on hand and we’ll have a few surprises too. Tickets are available from our online ticket office.
Head over to our 8tracks page now to listen to all of previous playlists.