When it hit cinemas in 1948, Alfred Hitchcock claimed his film Rope was one long continuous take, but it wasn’t really because Hitchcock was a big, fat liar. Since then there have been real one shot movies- Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark, Mike Figgis’ Timecode– but they are so mind-numbingly shit I’m amazed anyone has bothered to verify their veracity.
Music videos are the ideal format for one shot trickery and as a result there are loads of them, most of which are not shit, like the whirling new clip for School Of Seven Bells‘ My Cabal.
School Of Seven Bells – My Cabal (2009)
I love one shot videos and wanted to list my favourites, but thanks to YouTube’s ongoing lameness in the UK a lot of them aren’t available. So here is a truncated selection minus classics like the Michel Gondry-directed Sugar Water by Cibo Matto, the Spike Jonze-directed clip for Undone by Weezer, and Wannabe by The Spice Girls.
Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma (2008)
Fledgling directors use one shot videos to show off a bit. Here Richard Ayoade (Moss from the IT Crowd) pays tribute to a preppy New Yorker (Wes Anderson) with a bunch of preppy New Yorkers (the Vamps).
Feist – 1,2,3,4 (2007)
One shot, leotards and formation dancing. Awesome.
Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (1991)
The Verve paid tribute to this video with their own for Bittersweet Symphony, but Shara Nelson is way cooler than Richard Ashcroft.
Directed Art-direction by Leigh Bowery, no less.
Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues (1965)
Allegedly one of the first ever music videos, this is really the opening scene of D. A. Pennebaker’s Dylan tour film, Don’t Look Back. It also marked the beginning of the FAIL meme. Probably.