20-year-old artist-director Sayna Fardaraghi breaks down her favorite music videos of all time, from A$AP Rocky to Dope Lemon and more.
Indie filmmakers— and, by proxy, female indie filmmakers— have been creating some of the most essential work of the 2010s and beyond, from Eliza Hittman's Never Rarely Sometimes Always, to Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women, all the way to Janicza Bravo's forthcoming Zola. Sayna Fardaraghi, a 20-year-old artist-director based in both Brighton and London, has been doing a fair share of that work. "When I started experimenting with film, I realized that was the strongest feeling of excitement I’ve had when making something," Faradaraghi stated in an Affinity interview. Her homespun visuals for her short film L'Observateur, which came out in 2019, are whimsy and twee, equal parts Wes Anderson and colors right out of a chocolate box. In a way, Fardaraghi said, the film was a "love letter and homage" to Anderson's body of work.
Since then, Fardaraghi has been a new muscle of independent film, putting out Letters from Greece later that year, an experimental narrative short on longing across new horizons, and the forthcoming Waiting, an experimental short on the titular act. "Down," her music video for new kid on the block AIKO, is filled with distinct Fardaraghian touches: a sharp cleanness, detail, and emphasis on physical movement, with her characters entrenched in the act of observation.
Here, Fardaraghi shares a few visual, musical worlds created by other directors, many of which evoke the carefully-crafted landscapes in her work.
Bon Entendeur: "Le temps est Bon" (2018)
DIRECTOR: ALICE KONG
Starting off, this is one of my absolute favourite music videos, as it has such a fun theme behind it. I'm really drawn to work that is not only really bright in colour but is also supported by exciting visuals that doesn't take itself too seriously— "Le Temps est Bon" by director Alice Kong is a perfect example. This video exudes so much colour and beautifully-put-together visuals that it ends up completely distracting you from what's slowly unfolding, and, once revealed, the contrast of over-exaggerated colours in comparison to the darker theme brings a really humorous twist.
A$AP Rocky: "Babushka Boi" (2019)
DIRECTOR: NADIA LEE COHEN
This music video, alongside many more by my favourite director Nadia Lee Cohen, follows a similar theme as the work before (you're probably noticing a pattern here in my favourites). Nadia's work is filled with colour and, once again, playful visuals, and "Babushka Boi," alongside Kali Uchis' "After the Storm," is my favourite. This video is extremely over-exaggerated in colour and certainly has a cartoonish aesthetic— the humour in it is completely in tune with the visuals, and, together, it makes for such a visually-stunning video that's also just a really fun watch!
Dayglow: "Can I Call You Tonight?" (2018)
Quite often it can be difficult to find the budget and time to make a music video, so a lot of artists end up making bits by themselves and it always ends up looking really fun and absolutely bursting with personality. This particular one by Dayglow is one of my favourite takes on low-fi music video making; it goes to show that sometimes all you need is a green screen and an editing programme and you're good to go! Make something fun and have a good time!
Foals: "Exits" (2019)
DIRECTOR: ALBERT MOYA
This piece by one of my favourite directors, Albert Moya, was actually a major point of inspiration for the music video that I worked on with Aiko. This is a much more serious video with regards to its tone, yet is still absolutely stunning (I mean, c'mon, it's shot on 16mm!). What I also adore about this is that it's compiled from a mashup of various aesthetics and, despite it being very diverse in visuals, it works so beautifully and truly compliments the song.
Wallows: "These Days" (2018)
DIRECTOR: DANIEL IGLESIAS JR.
A perfect example of beautiful colour grading alongside art direction is within this Wallows video. You can see that there's a consistent pattern of 3 throughout it, and that every scene is well thought-out in connection with the next. My favourite part of this by far is the intro and the very end featuring the paramedic, once again highlighting the juxtaposition of beautiful colours next to something that's slightly disturbing, thus creating a humorous scene that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Dope Lemon: "Marinade" (2016)
DIRECTOR: STEFAN HUNT
"Marinade" is a wonderful video by another one of my favourite filmmakers, Stefan Hunt, which follows a much more narrative-based idea. I really love the abstract ties to this video from the collage-based animation as well as its clear influence from Moonrise Kingdom. Overall, it's such a sweet watch, especially if you're a Wes Anderson fan.
Jack + Eliza: "Quarter Past the Hour" (2015)
And lastly, this one's much more of a memory piece than a narrative-based video. The entirety of it is shot on film by duo wiissa and it basically records summer memorabilia in a similar theme to the film Dazed & Confused. It's a really nostalgic type of video that perfectly suits the music with the softness in its visuals and little hints of light leaks. It reminds me of a lot of my past work when I first got into making videos, pretty much documenting my summer on super 8 and connecting with other people through distant memories. I always go back to this video & song when I want something warm and euphoric to watch!