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Grizzly Bear "Knife" Dir: Isaiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch (Encyclopedia Pictura)

6 months in the making....

captainmarc22, February 8, 2007 at 8:51:40 PM CET

has some cool stuff but overall underwhelming. After seeing all the pics of the prosthetics and the fact they shot in Death Valley I wouldn't have guessed it would look as green screeny as it did.

And not to sound like Mr. MTV, but couldn't they have cut a bit more? It seemed to take forever to get from one shot to the next.

Still, some cool stuff even though it was a bit too random. I imagine a film student classroom where someone asks them what it all means, and they say "What was YOUR interpretation?"

vs, February 8, 2007 at 8:58:18 PM CET

What would Freud say?

arno-s, February 8, 2007 at 9:54:43 PM CET

weird and awesome. perfect combo.

jesse.ewles, February 8, 2007 at 9:55:07 PM CET

Some nice very nice stuff. Beautiful colours. The sequence with the man-chest and the crystals is strong enough that I wish it had been expanded more. I'm actually just finishing the vid for the second single "Central and Remote". Should be done at month's end; it's a bit like this, except more frenzied and with about 40% more "evil". Surprising how weird we both have made our treatments actually; must be in the culture. ;) -j

casualaesthete, February 8, 2007 at 10:46:39 PM CET

rad technicolor saturation, lots of depth and surface detail, pleasure to watch. Unfortunate symbolism, but some really nice fx, esp with the sand. Feels like a grander version of that other one they just did with the bodies and stuff, but suffering the same problems of lovely visuals and setting with rather murky story/symbols/meaning. Not that I need tons of story, it could be formless like Brakhage and still work very well, it's that the story they do introduce is just hrrrm

progosk, February 8, 2007 at 11:24:31 PM CET

while waiting for obtusity to spell it out for all of us, i thought that this, for all it's razorsharpness, was on the opaquer side of enjoyable.

toddyokoh, February 8, 2007 at 11:39:23 PM CET

Similar to Ramon Bloomberg's early work.
I think the marriage of effects and live action had a really nice fake feeling with out being gratuitous.
I am usually one for long takes, but I too think there could have been a few more camera angles, but thats tough to do building a virtual set the way they did. Interesting enough to keep me watching for the whole thing though. Nice job.

boey, February 9, 2007 at 12:11:01 AM CET

I'm not sure what to think of this..Love the art direction and effects but lack of emotion and over conceptualized, leaves me feeling all weird inside.

kevathens, February 9, 2007 at 1:04:00 AM CET

Nice to see something make sense despite the fact that it didn't make any sense at all. Fortunately it's awesome enough to overshadow the awkward, um, bits.

geosch, February 9, 2007 at 5:07:00 AM CET

Kinda hideous and overly weird in a "I want to be known as weird" way. The look and color of the landscape is cool, of course. I'd be a little more satisfied without the yawning zooms and fakeness.

fungible, February 9, 2007 at 5:13:43 AM CET

Well at the very least, you can't say "That's just like every other damn video." Think of it as the Eraserhead of its time.

lusk81, February 9, 2007 at 5:34:22 AM CET

No eraserhead here!

I know we'd all love to love this - but the execution struggles in some areas and the concept(s) seem really muddled and confused. Save the final shot of man caught in stalagnite vagina, this is rather hard to fight for.

They've got so much promise these Encyclopedias, but the jump to praise feels undeserved. Their ZION promo is still way ahead of the rest...

Consider, all the interesting ideas...

  • Rock crystal bad guys.
  • Penis getting filled with liquid.
  • Man stuck in stalagnite vagina.
  • Worker operating machine by beating testical drum.
  • Sand effects.

...feel too one offish because of how hip this promo is. Too many times I find myself stuck with something mediocre and having to like it because you know, it's quirky. It so rubs me the wrong way to see a cool idea hipstered out. The most most obvious (save the first shot with headgear forehead) is when we introduce androgynous rock creature.

It walks toward a purposefully nerdy guy lying on the sand in a purposefully undynamic medium wide as we clearly tell it's someone in a suit. This crystal suit person then leans over for no other reason except to very ameaturely spill sand from it's head. Like c'mon.....this is so feels like you guys are saying, "look how cool it is to spend months on a promo only to show you how uninvolved we are. Punk rock!"

Someone said this "isn't like every other promo". But the piece's intent is so recognizeably aligned with things indy hipster, that I would argue the opposite.

Push encylco. Push.

popcorn, February 9, 2007 at 6:12:58 AM CET

Captain, I don't really think anything is overly conceptualized here. I think the concept is actually fairly simple and pretty straightforward. Personally, I was taught how to interpret things on my own in film school so I don't think I really need to ask.

Geosch, I don't think fakeness can be a flaw considering the entire thing is pretty campy. Has anyone seen Happiness of the Kurikawa's? Instead of showing big special effects scenes, whenever they needed to shoot something that would be too expensive, they used claymation. And maybe, just maybe Isaiah and Sean are really wierd guys. This and Seventeen Evergreen back to back? Look at the pictures of them (I don't think they look like hipsters to me, lusk).

I think the video is pretty sweet, certainly unlike anything else out there. It takes a lot of balls for a band/label to make a video like this these day. I mean christ it's nearly six minutes long and took six months to make. Show this to anyone who doesn't frequent this site and I assure you they'd be pretty dumbfounded.

Yes it is slow, and a bit awkwardly cut, but I really like the way the video progresses with the song, which itself has a really strange structure. I really dig the end when it gets less fx-y and more cinematic. The rock chick walking into the wall looks great.

Buy the Grizzly Bear album, it's one of the best of '06. I will wait for Encyclopedia Pictura's next video - I put money on it that it's something big.

I've never been inclined to comment on anything until now. If I had a production company I'd sign them.

Also, someone sent me this link, which I think is the way I will start posting all of my quicktimes:

lusk81, February 9, 2007 at 7:28:58 AM CET

Not hipsters...? These guys looked like they walked out of an adambiz video

By the way popcorn, welcome.

captainbob, February 9, 2007 at 8:59:58 AM CET

i dont understand you people. this is the best video i've seen on her all year. It was smart, innovative, incredibly well done and was so much more than you'd expect from a music video. People keep making the same videos a million times and everyone is like "this is great". Then something good comes out and you all start complaining about small details like pacing and the compositing.

otc, February 9, 2007 at 9:08:19 AM CET

Jesus, can we stop with all the hipster self-loathing. Probably every poster on this site could be labeled as a hipster by someone else.

radar71, February 9, 2007 at 9:32:03 AM CET

I think this is great. radically different from anything else out there.

wurstbude, February 9, 2007 at 11:20:14 AM CET

best video i' ve seen for a long, long time. i think this is a unique piece of work the creators can be very proud of.

kevathens, February 9, 2007 at 12:52:30 PM CET

I agree with the hipster self-loathing thing. Be comfortable with where you fall in the 'hipness spectrum'. Accept it and enjoy it, there's nothing wrong with it.

We need a hipster psychologist:

Patient: "Doc, I don't like to read Pitchfork, but I love the same stuff they do!"

Psychologist: "That's okay. You don't have to love every 'hip' site out there. Choose the ones that best fit your style and don't worry about keeping up with everything."

jesse.ewles, February 9, 2007 at 1:09:36 PM CET

Yeah, the reaction to this post has bummed me out a bit. Ham-fisted criticism is fine for established directors with big-budgets, but picking on kids that are just starting out is pointless and self-serving. -j

quixoticnyc, February 9, 2007 at 3:33:58 PM CET

I watched the video last night. Didn't know what to immediately make of it; not that I couldn't make some interpretations as to what may be going on. This morning I sit down with my coffee and take a look at this string. Im with Jesse on this.

I'm totally bummed by some of this criticism. I can understand that something might not be everyones cup of tea. I feel like all too often I read these comments about how it wouldve been better if this or that. Or how I wasn't sold on the compositing. IMHO the most important part of any project is "the big idea". In this case i still don't know how to feel about the video but it has me thinking. I think thats a wonderful thing for a music video to accomplish.

elliot elliot, February 9, 2007 at 4:20:44 PM CET

This vid is great. There is nothing else like it.

familiar, February 9, 2007 at 4:22:09 PM CET

A testament to why you shouldn't have some bands acting in their own videos. Beyond that, it comes off like a homo-erotic Myst (which is not a bad concept on paper). Can't say it's my thing, but with the amount of caché Grizzly Bear have, I'm not surprised by the vicious defense some people will offer up for them -- or their videos.

najork, February 9, 2007 at 5:39:29 PM CET

That is quite impressive. Not sure how it would make me feel about the song if I did not already know it.

I hope this secures them a spot in the next round of Björk commissions though (if they are into that sort of thing).

popcorn, February 9, 2007 at 7:03:15 PM CET


spit, February 9, 2007 at 8:22:41 PM CET

I tried hard to watch this but I'm unable to make it more than halfway through. I think I might be missing the multiple Doctoral degrees that are necessary for finding a way to enjoy it. Have to respect the hard work that went in to it, but it would be a lot better if one of the band members was ghost riding a whip.

lex halaby, February 9, 2007 at 9:22:38 PM CET

It's not often I watch a video twice in one sitting. Loved it.

conrad74, February 9, 2007 at 9:26:18 PM CET

As a commercial promo it does not succeed exceedingly well. However, as a creative endeavor it is fascinating and enjoyable and smart. Well crafted and witty, this video is interesting and canny.

musicvideosyay, February 10, 2007 at 1:10:36 AM CET

I am young people.

kalstark, February 10, 2007 at 3:37:39 AM CET

I am so divided on this vid:

  1. On the one hand I was not personally entertained.
  2. On the other hand I watched the whole thing through with varying levels of interest and even occasional 'near-fascination'.
  3. On the third hand, I don't think this video would have a chance with the masses.
  4. On the fourth hand there are no longer monopoly type outlets that hold the masses attention and control what they watch (MTV is no longer the vanguard for videos; it's more likely YouTube has that honor).
  5. On the fifth hand, this video and the band are not meant to appeal to the masses so criticism #3 isn't necessarily valid (just listen to the song with your eyes closed and you'll see that this band's sound has a very particular and I'd argue relatively small niche group that identify with it).
  6. At the end of it all though I can't help but come back to point 1 - I was not personally entertained. Then again, I'm clearly not the target audience since, based on this single, I would not be a consumer of this band's material...

Just my .02

p.s. - I'm not a a hipster, I believe I'm more likely a far left mainstreamer.

scudmore, February 10, 2007 at 3:55:35 AM CET

contains some pretty unforgettable imagery that i'm not soon to ... uh... forget. for that alone, this is more interesting than 90% of most other music videos. it's daring and unique, even if it doesn't all add up to a cohesive, narrative whole. i was mesmerized enough by the sheer balls of it. great work!

yenvalmar, February 10, 2007 at 5:57:28 AM CET

so frustrating, a lot of great ideas and hard work but there is absolutely no post treatment as far as i can tell, it just looks like crappy HD video.. EVERYTHING looks fake on untreaded crappy HD, even real stuff. at least get some kind of filter for the lens guys! also their ambition exceeded their actual ability on some of the compositing shots, at least given the too-real look of the live action footage. but yeah, pretty wild. reminded me of jodorowski (sp?)

mercuryproject, February 10, 2007 at 10:17:28 PM CET

I personally think that this is one of the best music videos I've seen in a long time. I love the editing, the acting, and the imagery. It creates an amazing dreamlike tone that can't be put into words. Who cares if it's abstract, why does everything have to make complete sense. Do your dreams make complete sense? I also see Bjork seeking these guys out for a collaboration. These guys are very talented. You guys should check out their other work as well.

obtusity, February 13, 2007 at 8:06:18 AM CET

obtusity essay/interpretation/opinion on the video

(thanks for the pressure progosk!)

mva, March 2, 2007 at 5:10:08 AM CET

what was the budget of this video?

jesse.ewles, March 10, 2007 at 6:41:45 PM CET

Just a final bit of info on my earlier post, due to the late release of "the knife" my clip for "central and remote" will be put on the shelf for a month or two. Stay tuned! -j

vidbot, November 28, 2007 at 6:55:28 PM CET


I just watched this for the first time and I don’t know how I missed it the first time. This is exactly why I love Antville I had never heard of Grizzly Bear or Encyclopedia Pictura and now I have.


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