Director: Richard Bell
Production: State Films
Editor: Matt Watson
Vocals: The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet
An old black man, his troubled face full of character and passion, sits amidst a busy pedestrian scene relaying his story. To look at his face is to see a whole lifetime of experience. Pleading to be understood, the people pay no attention; nobody stops, nobody listens.
The central character is played by actor Louis Saint Juste. Louis showed great enthusiasm but had problems lip-synching to some of 'Jezebel's more complicated rhythmic sections. Through perseverance and just a little clever editing post production, he recounts a convincing tale.
At one point, the police turned up after receiving a 'phone call from a concerned driver worried about a black man seen tied to a chair and about to be thrown from a motorway bridge onto the M4! Luckily, they saw the funny side when they realised what was really going on.
Footage of spiders, maggots and a Weinreimer dog is intercut into the film.
The production team were located in Wales at the time and, judging by his expression, the Hotel manager may well have regretted his decision to allow the film crew to shoot 500 maggots on his patio.
Richard's original concept:
"Well, my idea was to create a film which has no linear structure but would capture the mood of the song with an atmosphere which parallels the narrative of the lyrics without telling the same story. Since we did not have a vocalist, I thought we could turn that to our advantage and use an actor to convey the spirit of the story."
On the man: often shooting low - insect POV, or high - to indicate heaven POV. Shoot with a slow shutter speed so if the man moves slowly, only the background (humanity) becomes blurred and streaked, further emphasising the 'river of people' effect.
Initially slow but building in pace and with more dramatic shots leading to the African drumming. The end section; slow, ethereal and calm.
The final shots of the promo feature our storyteller alone in the desert, in truth a large stretch of beach in Wales.
It wasn't until the film crew had insisted Louis learn complex vocal syncopation, throw himself about as if possessed, trudge for several miles through soft sand and jump into the sea to shoot underwater, that they found out he is 69 years old. - what a trooper!
Filming took place between 27th - 29th June 2000 on London Bridge, a motorway overpass near Slough and The Gower, Wales. 2 cameras were used with some in-camera effects and a home designed 'Pole Cam' for the high angles. Editing took 5 days and the final render (applying the film look) took 9 hours on a PC.
The promo was shot on Mini-DV, transferred directly to a Speed Razor editing system and finished off with a layer of Film FX2 to give it the 'old film' look. The jump cuts, defocusing, dirt and scratches suggest this is a long-buried piece of film being viewed for the first time.