No one films the beauty of urban cultures and marginalized communities like the French director Romain Gavras does.
We’ll prove this to you with 10 gorgeous music videos (from old-school French hip-hop to Kanye West & Jay Z)
Rocé – “Changer le monde” – 2001
An old school music video for some of the best lyrics in French rap. 100% artisanal (the last scene was shot with a helium filled balloon)
Mafia K’1 Fry – “Pour ceux”- 2003
2003. At a time when French hip-hop music videos were desperately unoriginal (100% inspired by American videos), the Mafia K’1 Fry released a REAL street video shot by the Kourtrajmé team (a group Romain Gavras was a part of). They created an immersive experience transporting the viewer to the blocks in the outskirts of Paris, taking him all the way to the neighborhood kebab place. Consequently, the video couldn’t be aired on the traditional music channels… this music video was a gem only available on the Internet or on VHS.
DJ MEHDI – “Signatune” – 2006
Taking you to rural France, in a car pimping community that might be a little cliché, but popular.
Simian Mobile Disco – “I Believe”- 2007
Gavras’ esthetic is taking over Romania. The anti-Borat.
Justice – “Stress” – 2007
A marketing stunt that got the French media talking.
A call to violence? A denunciation of the banlieues? A masterpiece? We’ll let you be the judge.
The Last Shadow Puppets – “The Age Of Understatement” – 2008
Just some intimidation… Russian style.
M.I.A – “Born free” – 2010
In line with “Stress”, but this time the violence is directed against a community that hadn’t been targeted before: redheads. A violent and unsettling music video, with a very strong visual identity, censored by Youtube when it came out.
Kanye West & Jay Z – “No church in Wild” – 2012
When watching a video made by Gavras, you’ll notice that there’s always a few images that will stay on your mind. The intro scene featuring the boy with the molotov cocktail is one of those. The rebellion of the overlooked French suburban youth ending in a grand finale of laser beams and smoke bombs is a film making masterpiece.
M.I.A – “Bad Girls” – 2012
This pop and feminist music video featuring visual elements from the Middle East got the whole world dancing. A visual shock that is now inseparable from the music itself.
Jamie XX – “Gosh” – 2016
The Eiffel tower in a Chinese ghost town.
An albino person surrounded by skyscrapers and 400 young Chinese people with bleached hair.
Beautifully composed images captured with a drone.
France, urban culture, minorities, multiculturalism, breathtaking visuals, Gosh perfectly showcases the Gavras style.