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Johan "Oceans" (dir.: Johan Kramer, aka "Marta Tura")


"heartfelt" travelogue - analysis in the comments.
mov here;
utoob here;
flv here.
interview with the "director" here.

(via interesting resource fine fine music; thx tonie.)


         
nofare, June 24, 2006 2:32:55 AM CEST

Very interesting background to this charming little video.
Lucky for the production company, the woman's very cute.


         
winchandpulley, June 24, 2006 3:40:51 AM CEST

So much more beautiful and interesting than 95% of videos out there. Really teriffic.


         
mainchara, June 24, 2006 8:50:31 AM CEST

i saw this and just had to comment, best video i've seen this year, this girl does more than nelly furtado wish she could, the song is also amazing.


         
luminal, June 24, 2006 10:42:00 AM CEST

narcissistic crap.


         
kevathens, June 24, 2006 1:01:21 PM CEST

Excellent! Very well done. If you can dig the song, you'll get a very good experience, there. Videos like these deserve rotation without question.


         
mutant, June 24, 2006 1:17:36 PM CEST

nice but leaves us with the question, why a beautiful woman like her would travel around the world to see a crappy band from the friggin netherlands (ohne holland fahrn wir nach berlin).


         
kevathens, June 24, 2006 1:24:37 PM CEST

I wonder if someone was travelling with her. She wasn't holding the cam all the time. I agree, she did stuff in the plane with a camera that I would be embarrased to do. She emotes to the cam really well.


         
gregevigan, June 24, 2006 2:26:56 PM CEST

i think that the one woman journey thing is fictional, but that's not really the point. it's fresh, positive and it looks great. full marks.


         
benroll, June 24, 2006 9:22:00 PM CEST

This is a strange and interesting thing. On first watching I found it really beautiful. But for me, so much of that beauty relies on it being genuine. My inner cynic tells me this isn't genuine, but a clever piece of marketing.

Reasons?

  1. Luckily, the humble toy factory worker is absolutely beautiful.

  2. Luckily, she has a preternatural talent for film-making.

  3. The label can afford to pay for the flight, but the leg to the airport must be done by hitch-hiking.

  4. The motorcycle and sidecar. That was a lucky break.

  5. The exposure is always perfect.

  6. Exposure and focus both appear to be set to manual.

  7. Either it was largely shot by someone else or Marta has very long, bendy arms and a very steady hand - shooting yourself with a handycam just doesn't look like that, especially when you're asleep. The mirrored shades....genius touch!


This handheld shot seems a bit impossible. This is the last frame before the cut where Marta is about to break into a run. Was it a kindly passer-by on the lonely highway. I think not


This handheld shot must have been held in Marta's left hand, but her left hand is on her face.


Shooting the back of your own head is a very advanced technique and is not to be attempted by amateurs.

  1. The edit is really tight and everything has been very nicely graded and apparently vignetted. Although this could credibly have been done by someone else, it ruins the verisimilitude.

I really do want to believe this is real and I tell myself that Marta shot so much footage that it's possible to make a perfect three minute promo. Or that at least some of it is real. A bit like I told myself about Santa, when I started to doubt.

If I'm wrong, then I'm a cynic. If I'm right, the label, the band, that 'making of' and maybe even Marta are triply cynical.


         
kevathens, June 24, 2006 9:54:01 PM CEST

I wouldn't call it 'clever marketing' until you add the interview.

I wouldn't blame the video of cleverness, only an inability to work out all the details. I would advise the director to watch Failure or Behind.


         
progosk, June 24, 2006 11:11:41 PM CEST

some doubts expressed here too, i believe, though it looks inconclusive.

i've chosen to suspend judgement for the moment, though i do have an inkling.

one other thing: i'm pretty sure she says she's 35.


         
coady, June 25, 2006 1:24:49 AM CEST

How about quadruply cynical? What if the whole point was to spark this big debate about the validity of the video and we find out a week from now Marta actually lives in the Netherlands and this video of her is actually her visiting her family in Argentina.

I mean, think about it: if they were going to be slick about it why would they include shots that would raise questions about who held the camera. After all, they had many hours of footage to choose from.

So either they did a slick, but incompetent edit, or it really is her or a friendly hand, or they are intentionally trying to spark discussion


         
benroll, June 25, 2006 2:06:49 AM CEST

A double bluff! That would be really smart!

I saw a documentary on TV a while back about French 'free runners' running famous monuments in London. The programme did the whole build up, interviewing various safety experts about the dangers etc. particularly of the grand finale, the culminating jump from the gun turret to the deck of HMS Belfast.

After an hour of the show, we finally saw this death defying leap. He runs... he jumps... cut ... he lands.

My point is, I wonder if it isn't simply a case of underestimating the audience.

On the other hand if antvillle's scrutinisers, afficionados and film-makers are still in some doubt, this is a pretty good effort. What's in no doubt is that Marta wasn't alone when she donned her cans... ;-)

And if you cast doubt on the veracity of one part, you cast doubt on the whole thing.


         
gregevigan, June 25, 2006 2:13:57 PM CEST

quite deep analysis here. it's beginning to remind me of an exhibition i saw a couple of years ago. google tells me it was this:

www.naomivjelish.org.uk

i spent hours trying to figure out what it was trying to say.


         
gregevigan, June 25, 2006 2:44:12 PM CEST

curiouser and curiouser, i just watched it a second time and it seems to me that it was actually filmed in spain, rather than argentina. i still think it's good though.


         
benroll, June 25, 2006 3:29:57 PM CEST

How did you clock that gregevigan? Recognise somewhere? Signage? Number plates?

That Buenos Aires 583 sign does look suspiciously out of place.


         
progosk, June 25, 2006 3:34:20 PM CEST

spain indeed:

google it, it's a gas station near barcelona... "ES LA PANADELLA SA. LA PANADELLA BARCELONA. N-II KM.535. Campsa."
www.febbdn.com

oh, dear...


         
benroll, June 25, 2006 3:36:36 PM CEST

Progosk you beat me to it....

But anyway...

Wikipedia on Argentine license plates:

Before 1972 - no regulation
1972 - 1994 - one letter followed by six numbers X 000000
1994 onwards - three letters followed by three numbers XXX 000 using a white font on a black background

According to that, none of the vehicles we see in that video are Argentian. I don't know where they are from, because they don't seem to fit the spanish licence plates either.

Question remains: Who directed? And who is Marta Tura?


         
gregevigan, June 25, 2006 3:53:31 PM CEST

for me it was the sign at the airport, it looked like it might have been matchmoved in. made me think hey... you could... and then also scanning through i thought the buenos aires 583 sign looked funny. the clincher was the signage at the metro, buenos aires has A,B,C lines and a yellow line 4?: barcelona. which also fits with the city view from the hills around, the architecture and the european cars. case closed. this is fun!

i'd also really like to know the director. it's very resourceful, and shooting on a commercial jet is pretty bold.


         
progosk, June 25, 2006 3:54:20 PM CEST

or are they going to try to say it was a buenos aires-barcelona-amsterdam flight, and she needed a breath of fresh air outside the airport?

either way, if anyone cares about it being a fake, our sleuthing should ensure the band/label another little slew of publicity. should we be getting a percentage here...?

ps: for me, initially, it was her english.


         
coady, June 25, 2006 4:31:05 PM CEST

Did you guys see the u.f.o. at 1:10. I think it might explain some of the unexplained plastic arm bending/floating unmanned steadicam shots in this video.


         
progosk, June 25, 2006 4:40:12 PM CEST

(LOL coady!)

"marta"'s myspace. so norte-argentiño...


         
kevathens, June 25, 2006 6:29:17 PM CEST

That Was Hilarious.

To take this even further (¡yes!): I'm wondering a bit about finefinemusic. It's only been up for three months, and it's got Johan in five places.. :?


         
kevathens, June 25, 2006 7:53:25 PM CEST

domain: finefinemusic.com
owner: Adriaan Pels
organization: Adriaan Pels
email: info@a3sign.nl
address: Annastraat 40
address: --
city: Groningen
state: Groningen
postal-code: 9724 LH
country: NL
phone: +31-50-3147613
fax: --
admin-c: info@a3sign.nl#0
tech-c: info@a3sign.nl#0
billing-c: info@a3sign.nl#0
nserver: ns1.ateaseweb.com
nserver: ns2.ateaseweb.com
status: lock
created: 2005-01-20 20:33:01 UTC
modified: 2005-12-21 01:20:23 UTC
expires: 2007-01-20 15:32:59 UTC

Turns out finefinemusic.com is owned by the fella (Adriaan Pels) who runs ateaseweb, the Radiohead fan site (which looks similar). - registered Jan 2005.


         
progosk, June 25, 2006 10:26:32 PM CEST

excelsior, johan's record company, has a message board. i posted a new topic with a brief pointer to this thread this afternoon - the topic was promptly removed (but not before twenty odd readers clicked through). i'll be putting the topic back up once just to get a screenshot. silly excelsior...

www.excelsior-recordings.net
see how long it lasts this time...


         
hakai, June 25, 2006 10:41:13 PM CEST

Wow! You guys are digging deep. I've shot stills and video on planes after 911...


         
hakai, June 26, 2006 12:19:38 AM CEST

That was faked Otaku... The moons not even real. Its an optical illusion caused by sun rays reflecting off of Donald Trumps hair.


         
gregevigan, June 26, 2006 12:52:33 AM CEST

i think fake is a bit strong. almost all music videos and films are fictional to some extent.

but i'm not sure why 'they', the label or whoever, are really pushing it as true (with the interview, myspace site etc.). that sits a bit funny.


         
progosk, June 26, 2006 2:03:06 AM CEST

fake in that it purports to be true, gregev (as you yourself point out).

otaku: i know it hurts, but an awful lot of this stuff is in/around barcelona; that particular gas station is not in argentina (just google 'campsa': "en España, usa la marca de CAMPSA [...] Pero, en Argentina, usa YPF [...]); lìnia 4 (and the stop 'teatre romea' in particular) is part of the barcelona metro network, as gregev already mentioned, run by the same 'tmb' transit authority whose logo is on the card-puncher on the bus; and, perhaps most interestingly, flight klm 1667 is amsterdam>barcelona!

yeah, it's still beautifully done. but don't you feel a bit cheated of your emotion?


         
frrr, June 26, 2006 12:00:41 PM CEST

Hmm, have we been fooled then? Didn't Marta tell us that she indeed made a stop in Barcelona to visit relatives? And that she shot some footage when in Spain?

Most important thing though is that all two of us here @ Excelsior are really flattered by your comments and positive feedback on this beautiful little movie.

THX!


         
progosk, June 26, 2006 12:30:07 PM CEST

hi ferry. still playing, huh? well, as long as all the johan fans don't start feeling gipped...


         
ilovexurry, June 26, 2006 1:33:40 PM CEST

Could this be the workings of the brilliant Johan Kramer of KesselsKramer fame?

The Facts:
IMHO...Marta seems to be Spanish, and not from Argentina. Notice how she "lisps" the c's and z's in spanish? They only do that in Spain...(also, ditto to all the other bits that shows barcelona, colacao chocolate, unique to spain, etc)smells like a clever marketing ply to me...

The Theory:
Director Johan Kramer, ex-advertising creative director of KesselsKramer in Amsterdam actually shot an earlier Johan video full of falling gnomes.

www.kesselskramer.com
(scroll down, it's in the middle of the page)

If you look at the website (kesselskramer.com), it's done as an entire "fake" website, as is this video, which seems right up his alley, along with the string of "fictional" ads/"guerilla" marketing he's done... Also, he has a great relation with a catalan agency (SCPF*), and has directed stuff for them before, so the Barcelona-Amsterdam connection seems to fit..

Of course, this is just my conspiracy theory to join the bunch...!


         
progosk, June 26, 2006 2:03:58 PM CEST

nailed it! well done xurry. lookee here.

i'm prepared to bet he chose her name as a play on martin de thurah (it'd always struck me as an odd coincidence...)


         
ilovexurry, June 26, 2006 2:10:41 PM CEST

Wow! Thanks for confirming my hunches Progosk! In any case, it's a great video, and good for Johan. I've always been a fan of his work.


         
kevathens, June 26, 2006 2:10:46 PM CEST

xurry wins comment of the month award.


         
gregevigan, June 26, 2006 2:52:54 PM CEST

impressive stuff... videos.antville should open a detective agency.


         
robodrug, June 26, 2006 3:15:23 PM CEST

I got lost on this field trip and had to make my own way home Sorry!
The music occupies the same shelf in my mind as Elton John's does! No passionate opinion Don't begrudge them their accolades, fame, adoration, or money. Jus' not moved by their music


         
nofare, June 26, 2006 4:44:34 PM CEST

Hands down, this is the best AntVille thread ever!


         
kevathens, June 26, 2006 5:08:00 PM CEST

sorted!


         
rialto, June 26, 2006 6:56:16 PM CEST

The train in the video is definitely Spanish as well.

www.railfaneurope.net/pix/es/electric/emu/448/reformado/pix.html.


         
kevathens, June 26, 2006 7:50:09 PM CEST

Sorry to hear that.


         
coady, June 26, 2006 8:20:29 PM CEST

otaku-house: This video may not be real but I think the premise is believable. It's good, but painful, to reveal frauds.

For my part, I don't think Johan a genius on the basis of this video, just calculating, which isa post-modern short cut to feeling smug. If he really wanted attention he would have crafted a video that would take more than 5 days to unmask.


         
hakai, June 26, 2006 10:32:03 PM CEST

Can't trust anything these days...

This could totaly back fire on the band.


         
ilovexurry, June 26, 2006 11:01:37 PM CEST

Um...

i think we might be taking this a bit too seriously. The way i see it, it's just great storytelling done to a great effect. From what i can see, Johan (both band and director), probably didn't have a huge budget, but look at the beautiful story they've told... Besides, wasn't Santa worth it during Christmas even when you found out he wasn't real? (ok, maybe not the best analogy, but hey, it sorta works, no?)

The video gave me a great smile before, and even now when i know it isn't "real".

I'm happy to enjoy it for simply a great piece of storytelling :)


         
raymond_dezolay, June 26, 2006 11:12:26 PM CEST

Yes, but backfire on the band is more fun.

thx jhn

:)


         
stonehead, June 27, 2006 10:46:00 AM CEST

I asked christelpalace.nl for an official reaction, and got this one in just a few hours. (The translation is mine; the original text I received is in Dutch.)

"Thanks for your mail. We have received so many wonderful reactions about the new Johan clip! It is indeed directed by Johan Kramer, but from a distance. He advised Marta Tura, the girl from Antofagasta de la Sierra, how to film and instructed her girlfriend (who travelled along with her) as well. At the stop in Madrid, in the middle of the trip, Johan viewed the material and decided to add a few shots here and there. (That's not that strange; she had never filmed before.) A very funny sequence with a donkey was canceled at that point. The new shots were again done by Marta herself, when she visited family in Barcelona for a few days. We decided not to explain this for the videoclip. The final assembly of shots has been accompanied by Johan, because Marta had to go home (for her work there, she was only allowed a limited number of days off).
Thanks again for your questions!

The next video for the band Johan (without Marta) will again be directed by Johan Kramer."


         
progosk, June 27, 2006 11:24:36 AM CEST

u-huh, yeah, sure, jk... so she got that unargentinian accent genetically, from her relatives in barcelona...


         
stonehead, June 27, 2006 1:17:44 PM CEST

It wasn't even JK who wrote that to me. Anyway, I don't feel cheated, really. Marta is also on the cover of the THX JHN album. If the rest of the story weren't true, the whole album would not be credible. The band Johan is pretty serious here in the Netherlands, they'd never risk that.


         
progosk, June 27, 2006 1:27:19 PM CEST

look at it this way stone: so far, while there is a fair amount of evidence against the "argentinian" story, there isn't a single piece of evidence to support it (other than her and christelpalace's word). i'd love it if somebody could find some, because i'd love to believe the whole story - or even some amended version of it.
for the moment, though, it's looking pretty unauthentic.


         
benroll, June 27, 2006 8:59:59 PM CEST

How elusive the truth is! This video is truly enigmatic. I had to revisit it. Let's go deep...

I'm really coming round to the double bluff theory. Thinking about TV series Lost's 'Hanso Insitute' and network of fabricated websites, or the marketing for the original Blair Witch Project, or even Big Brother.... they all consciously blur the boundaries between reality and fiction...and everyone happily plays along. It's probably even a good thing if it makes us more aware of how media can manipulate us - even the TV news.

My second thought is that you wouldn't make something like this without at least entertaining the possibility that it will be discovered. Presumably the band have or will have some kind of fan-base in Barcelona who could recognise some of the specific locations. If it was thought that this would be significantly detrimental to the band's reputation, then they probably wouldn't have gone with it, or would have been much more careful to cover their tracks. If Marta Tura is indeed a Spanish actor, then presumably she hopes to work again in other roles. The very fact that Johan Kramer has this on the web suggests that he wasn't made to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

I would be extremely surprised if any of this has any real negative impact on the band's reputation. If you're a fan, you're a fan. In fact the (still) blurred line between reality and fiction in this piece is what's most interesting about it.

However, what has struck me lately is how Marta doesn't film stuff.... she films herself filming stuff. Everything about the camera's point of view and the way Marta interacts with it suggests the point of view of a person with whom she is very intimate.

I think we are being cast in the role of Marta's (how shall I say?) intimate other. We are made to fall in love with Marta Tura. (which casts the shot in the aircraft toilet in a whole other light.) It manipulates the well established interplay between innocence and desire. Marta is that innocent....the shawl, the tiny village, the children's shoe factory, the naive energy and vivacity. And rationally at least, the pretext of the video confirms that. But from an emotional standpoint it's a deeply intimate and possibly sexually provocative piece as well. This is its power. I wonder how many of the contributors here are girls.

I would say that even without the interview, it's a smart and knowing piece.

I still feel cheated, but the fake is somehow more engaging than the real thing. I have to take my hat off to the director.


         
kevathens, June 27, 2006 9:15:21 PM CEST

Good analysis. I think what you mean is that this vid is good for both girls and boys (and boys who likes boys, girls who like girls). Those of us boys who don't like girls (myself) find the emotional connection here simply wonderful - the 'sexual' scenes are joyously shot and can easily not be sexual.

I agree with the quality of the video. Perhaps once this is all settled down, this will be one of my faves of the year??


         
benroll, June 27, 2006 10:01:52 PM CEST

That's pretty much what I'm getting at....a sexuality that transcends sexual preference.

Definitely vying for a faves of the year spot.


         
kevathens, June 30, 2006 6:23:34 PM CEST

Johan Update! Both the mov and the website finefinemusic have (for the moment) disappeared. Same with ateaseweb, so I doubt this is Johan-specific.


         
hakai, June 30, 2006 7:31:53 PM CEST

Backfire...


         
raymond_dezolay, June 30, 2006 7:46:25 PM CEST

www.excelsior-recordings.net

www.johan4all.com

n'existent plus!


         
progosk, July 1, 2006 12:02:04 AM CEST

hmm... their myspace (as well as "marta's") and fansite are still up; excelsior is down in toto. probly just some cpanel thang...


         
kevathens, July 1, 2006 12:17:46 AM CEST

Both excelsior-recordings.net and johan4all.com are owned by the same Adriaan Pels who runs ateaseweb and finefinemusic.

Adriaan also owns supersub.net, which is also down. I don't think any of this has any relevance towards the video itself, mind you - just worth a note.


         
kevathens, July 1, 2006 10:04:31 PM CEST

Johan's back


         
mamutgorila, September 17, 2007 6:00:38 PM CEST

hi, i'mn from argentina and i can tell you for sure this is not argentina. even from the begining you can discover she's spanish for the accent. We don have the gas station, that subway (in fact, theres only subway in buenos aires), the airport isn't ezeiza, and if yoy see trough the window of the plain you'll discover it's a small plain, look the size of the wing. For me it's a bad video, because all tha mockumentary its very obvius, but i can undertand somebody who didn't know anything about spain or argentina will enjoy.
















 

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