Monday, January 30, 2006

Art Can't Hurt You...

The Chauffeur is an artistic and thought provoking video by Duran Duran that came out almost 25 years ago yet Tipper Gore has called this video obscene and pornographic.

When I was about 14 I got hold of a copy of all of Duran's videos and I didn't think that much about Girls On Film or The Chauffeur as being pure smut - to me they were artistic. But then I didn't focus on the nudity but on the lighting, camera angles and such.

Friends of mine used to come by to watch videos because I was fortunate to have parents that were gone for extended periods of time. It was always the same when people first saw The Chauffeur - the first viewing they are absolutely quiet; the second viewing amusing comments start to be made, but after that the conversation turns towards the artistic and symbolic imagry in the video.

"....the balls rolling around on the floorboard - those are the balls of all her conquests! is dark and sultry and the other is cool blonde and languid.....the chauffeur - what happened - trans? Was it a woman all along?...."

And just on and on we went...we knew every nuance, every facial movement -- all of it.

Maybe we all read Lord of the Flies and analyzed the ego, super ego and id of Jack, Ralph and Piggy with Simon as the Christ figure too much. Or maybe it was because we were so enthralled with The Hunger which starred our idols, Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie and this video reminded us of that film. But I still watch The Chauffeur looking for the meanings and symbolism.

Last year I was lucky enough see Duran Duran when they were in town for their show. It was a brilliant concert and the second to the last song when the hall was almost totally dark we all heard that familiar opening to the song -- that song.

As it was happening I noticed something - about 60% of the audience didn't know that opening bar to the song and then of those that did, only about 10% instantly recognized the first frames of the video - that video....and we all went nuts. Absolute adults were acting like teeny boppers screaming our approval, love and thanks for showing that video in all it's glory on a huge screen.

Granted they had enhanced it a bit with some eye candy but it was still glorious. And without further ado for those that have never seen the original - turn up your volume and judge for yourself -- The Chauffeur.


Javier Marti said...

From a european point of view, the video is not shocking at all. But I guess I have to see it from the 80's typical american point of view.
It is certainly artistic, and the black & white helps that effect.
Girls too think for my taste. My grand mother would give give them more soup and worry about them getting sick! :)

Grey Biker said...

Of course I remember watching it. I did not look at it artistic then though. It is still cool to watch.

Angie said...

Quite the blast from the past. I was a huge Duran Duran fan back in the day. I can remember being a young teen and seeing that for the first time. It was quite risque back then, but of course it is tame compared to the things we see these days.

I can definitely see it from an artistic point of view now.
Thanks for posting that video! I still like that song very much as well.

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