Arcade Fire hit the sweet spot in American controversy (which isn’t hard to do in fairness) when they released their video for “We Exist” off of their album ‘Reflektor’. This video is a landmark in using the medium to explore deep personal conflicts and taboo subjects in our society. Beautifully performed by Andrew Garfield and Directed by David Wilson it really struck a nerve when it was released.
In the video we open with an emotionally penetrating scene of Garfield confronting himself in the mirror in anguish. We quickly discover the reason as he dons some women’s clothing, makeup and a wig and heads out to a nearby bar. The bar, representative of American culture in general, does not receive Garfield’s character well and proceeds to lash out in anger, broken only by a beautiful dance reminiscent of the Footloose era. The choreography by OTE favourite ‘Ryan Heffington’ (Sia’s Chandelier) is a wonderful display of torn emotions and a lack of identity in this singular character. The video ends with a live Andrew Garfield entering the stage with Arcade Fire as they headline one of the big festivals of the summer season that year. This video to me is a wonderful example of how storytelling can be so powerful in any medium, especially in the accompaniment of music, and really makes me proud to be in this industry.