Clip director Hiro Murai unleashes his freebooter mentality at Station Eleven

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Clip director Hiro Murai unleashes his freebooter mentality at Station Eleven

Station Eleven with Milton Barnes as Miles, Mackenzie Davis as Kristen and Daniel Zovatto as The Prophet.Image x

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The end of the world may well contain something cheerful and comforting, without trivializing or otherwise nullifying it. In the great new series Eleven . Stationbased on the 2014 book of the same name by Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel, that ending is perhaps too quick to be summed up in apocalyptic clichés in the first place.

‘A strange, childlike wonder’, the leading director Hiro Murai (38) calls the world through the eyes of the survivors in the novel, in an interview with Vulture

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The premise of Eleven . Station nevertheless sketches a horror scenario. In less than 24 hours, a virus wipes out 99.9 percent of humanity. Too fast to have to fight for the last products in hoarded supermarkets. Too fast, too, to turn cities into smoking rubble. Only the people with above-average foresight and rare luck can make it to safety, such as theatergoer Jeevan (Himesh Patel) and child actor Kirsten (Matilda Lawler) after a performance of King Lear

The series tells their story – and that of other survivors – in the days before and months after the apocalypse, interspersed with plot lines twenty years in the future. In it, among other things, a traveling theater company performs for the remaining tufts of that 0.1 percent. That future therefore does not look like a hopeless wasteland, but is especially striking because of an overgrown greenery. And then there is also an important role for an enigmatic comic strip about a lonely astronaut in a space station, who is portrayed by director Murai as a visible character in contrast to the novel.

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Visual identity

Hiro Murai is the standout director of the first (and third) installment: a big and influential job, as the pilot director is hired to develop the entire visual identity of the series. It is a relatively new position in the world of prestigious television series: the renowned director is asked to shape a series of series, after which other directors continue filming within that framework. For example, David Fincher provided the dark pilot episodes of House of Cards and mindhunter and Martin Scorsese used his momentum to kick off Boardwalk Empire and vinyl

The difference: Murai is not yet a big name with the general public. In recent years he has directed remarkably stylized video clips and, as the main director of Atlanta one of the most powerful and quirky series of the moment. But he has yet to make his first feature film.

Clip director Hiro Murai unleashes his freebooter mentality at Station Eleven

Director Hiro Murai of Station Eleven.Image Getty Images

Still, that first episode of Eleven . Station immediately of visual quality, hidden in carefully thought out visual details. Just take all those brief flashes where we look twenty years into the future from the pre-pandemic present. The camera stops at a metro line and then, poof, a preview of exactly the same location in a completely overgrown state. It was Joel Sternfeld’s photography of American countryside that gave him this idea, Murai told Vulture† ‘His work looks deserted and melancholy, but also warm and serene.’

His work so far is certainly controversial. His music video of Childish Gambino’s This is America, one of the biggest hits by multi-talented Donald Glover, went viral four years ago. The counter on YouTube stands at more than 817 million views. Murai films Glover dancing in a factory hall while, among other things, he mows down a choir with a machine gun. They are four anarchic and multi-interpretable minutes in which you can recognize criticism of racism, police brutality, vanity and above all American gun and entertainment culture. Murai won the Grammy for best music video in 2019.

And the series Atlanta is a burst of creativity that was described by protagonist Glover – they have been working together regularly since 2013 – as ‘Twin Peaks with rappers’. The long-awaited third season, partly shot in Amsterdam, will be released next month of the delicately told and at the same time wonderfully surreal series about a group of friends, one of whom hopes to break through as a rapper. The series “moves between hypothermic realism, existential melancholy and wild absurdism,” wrote Vanity Fair

Connect genres

You could describe Murai and his talent for connecting genres as symbols for a new generation of filmmakers, as Aphex Twin clip director Chris Cunningham was in the 1990s. Or as a flashback to a distant past, when Orson Welles was given a free hand after only some experience with theater and radio to Citizen Kane (1941) to make.

To earn authority as a film author, a maker with a recognizable personal style, making film is not necessarily necessary at the moment. In an interview with Vanity Fair told Murai about the freedom he experiences in the television landscape. “From a creative standpoint, TV is the wild west right now. I don’t have that feeling with movies. So far it has been very enjoyable to discover how far the limits can be stretched.’

Hiro Murai was born in Tokyo in 1983 to Kunihiko Murai, the renowned composer of the soundtrack of the classic food film tampopo from 1985. Father Murai saw greater career opportunities in America in the early 1990s and the family moved to Los Angeles when Hiro was 9. His first memories: trying to decipher which sign points to the toilet at school with an English-Japanese dictionary in hand. He would later use it in interviews to explain his predilection for the outsider in absurd situations – the DNA of Atlanta

Living on a diet of cartoons and movies in the following years, his tastes ranged from the loosely told yakuza stories of Takeshi Kitano to the surrealism of David Lynch. After his film studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, he steadily made a name for himself in the mid-1900s as a music video maker for local musicians. First for anyone who wanted to and was willing to pay a thousand dollars for it, a period in which he also worked as an illustrator, special effects maker and cameraman.


During that period, his freebooter mentality arose: just work out an idea and quickly move on to the next plan. He ended up on the radar of bigger artists, from Bloc Party to Frank Ocean and from Earl Sweatshirt to Donald Glovers Childish Gambino.

As a clipmaker, his resume is huge. Even with the comforting post-apocalypse of Eleven . Station he’s not completely on new ground: in his clip of The Shins’ It’s Only Life a boy strolls pleasantly with a dog through a deserted world.

His main sources of inspiration are equally broadly oriented. Where photographer Joel Sternfeld was important for the design of Eleven . Stationhe dropped himself for the music video of St. Vincent’s Cheerleader inspired by the realistic sculptures of giant people by Australian sculptor Ron Mueck. More precisely, the photos of those giant sculptures in exhibitions, where museum visitors stroll around Mueck’s creations, frowning attentively.

Murai makes in Cheerleader by St. Vincent singer Annie Clark such a giant in a delicate way. She lies on a plateau in a museum space and is hoisted up with thick ropes. And finally she breaks free, of course, still in a pleasantly stylish delay, ending the clip as an ode to the B-movie youAttack of the 50 Foot Woman from the fifties. Talk about broad orientation.

Director Hiro Murai
Selection of video clips and series

2012 Earl Sweatshirt – Chum

2012 St Vincent – Cheerleader

2013 Childish Gambino – 3005

2016–present Atlanta (14 episodes)

2017 A Tribe Called Quest – Dis Generation

2018 Childish Gambino – This is America

2018-present Barry (4 episodes)

2019 Guava Island (short film starring Rihanna and Donald Glover)

2021 Station Eleven (2 episodes, including the pilot)

Clip director Hiro Murai unleashes his freebooter mentality at Station Eleven
Source link Clip director Hiro Murai unleashes his freebooter mentality at Station Eleven

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