Everyone needs a coffee break. For some, that means actually drinking something laden with caffeine to push you through to the end of the day. For others, that break has little to do with java, and much more to do with a nice distraction from whatever is on your plate that particular day. According to the Scientific American, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.”
Our new recurring segment, Coffee Break, aims to give you just that. Small — albeit worthwhile slices of video content from the web — that should give you exactly what you need when you need to focus on something other than the task at hand.
Kanye West is a man of many talents, that is clear by now. Producer, rapper, fashion designer and once upon a time film director. In honor of Ye’s birthday yesterday, we’re revisiting the stunning work that is his “Runaway” short film.
Directed by West in his directorial debut and written by Hype Williams from a story by West, the 34-minute epic short from 2010 arguably kicked off the visual album trend of recent years. Inspired by classic music films such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Purple Rain, the short tells the story of a mortal man who falls in love with a half-woman, half-phoenix, with their love being misunderstand and inevitably doomed. Set to various tracks from West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the short film is essentially made up of what would go on to be individual music videos alongside some interstitial scenes which further the narrative.
What’s most interesting about “Runaway” is how it feeds into Kanye’s long-term vision for himself – artist Vanessa Beecroft, who’s worked with Ye on his fashion shows, serves as art director, while OFF-WHITE designer and previous long-time Kanye collaborator Virgil Abloh is credited as creative consultant. And let’s not forget Nicki Minaj’s faux-English accent narration.
With influences as varied as filmmakers Federico Fellini and Stanley Kubrick, as well as painters Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the film isn’t bad for a first effort. Aside from 2012’s “Cruel Summer” Ye hasn’t gone back to the director’s chair, but maybe it’s time he did. We’re here for it.
In case you missed it, check out a previous installment of Coffee Break highlighting Donald Glover’s short film “Clapping for the Wrong Reasons.”