It was about two months ago that The White Stripes went into the studio and recorded Blue Orchid. Within a month the song was already out and gracing the airwaves. A video was needed in an impossibly small timeframe, and director Floria Sigismondi delivered.
Set in an absolutely decrepit house, Jack and Meg jerk and stutter frenetically on hand-cranked film that perfectly syncopates with their odd new direction in sound and style. A beautiful model struggles with a staircase nearing collapse in impossibly high fetish heels, while Mr. White exudes a Johnny-Deppish charm, swinging a cane about and preening an evil moustache. Meg swings through the house and smashes though dish after dish that serve as an improvised percussion set.
The cinematography and production design is everything one would expect under the direction of one of today’s most respected artists and photographers. The horizontally composed shots of Jack White bring a refreshing new angle to the performances, and the handheld work seems very deliberate and crafted rather than arbitrary and disorienting. Floria and The White Stripes are a match made in Heaven and Hell.
Floria answers a few of our questions about the video…
MVWIRE: How did the visual and thematic concept come together? was it more influenced by particular lyrics or the sound of the song? It seems like a new direction for the music as well as the visuals and colors.
Floria Sigismondi: The song inspired me to want to create a world where the devil plays on Eve. Eve (is) trapped in a charred burnt house that represents heaven and hell….Eve starts her journey in a white room following an apple down a staircase to a charred environment, where she is met by snakes….jack and his burnt piano and legless meg on a swing. Jack is the apple, the snake and the horse.
MVW: Where was the house location?
FS: Los angeles. We burnt parts of the house, located in a decrepit neighborhood of West Adams.
MVW: How did you create the shot where the horse is about to trample the model?
FS: Placing a “hot” model underneath a live horse I didn’t have to do a thing.
MVW: Who created the costumes?
MVW: Who is the baby in the video?
FS: Her name is : Miss Tosca Vera Sigismondi-Berlin. She is a very fine actress at the age of 6 months and we share dna, my daughter. It was Jack’s idea to put her in the video, of course i agreed, she was already dressed for the role.
MVW: What techniques were used to achieve the stop motion and time distortion effect?
FS: This was all shot at double speed, hand held on an Aton.
MVW: The video is gorgeous, thanks for your time!
FS: Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it- by the way, I understand that the video played matchmaker to the new Mr. and Mrs. Jack White.