To go along with my B&W poppy compositions, I decided to include the official video of Caro Emerald’s song, “I Belong to You”. The video’s style and the song exhibits the mix of 1940s cinema’s lush romanticism with the subtle suggestion of the film noir’s figure of the femme fatale.
The opening ( establishing shot) is a wide-angle long shot in B&W of the mansion, with the only signs of activity a flock of bird rising up into the air, as if startled by a menace. The camera slowly, in time to the music, moves in before sharply cutting to an interior shot of a darkened staircase camera low angle moving upward towards the lighted landing above.
Another sharp cut takes us into a upper room, the camera at eye level and approaching the windows. All the camera motion follows the pace of music and the the sharp cuts matching the tango beat. The setting and cinematography tropes allude to such classic films as Murder My Sweet (1944) , Double Indemnity (1944) , and The Big Sleep (1939).
In Caro’s video, the young man with “the retro-contemporary-needs-a-shave” should look a bit more worn and world weary – instead of a youthful hipster trying to look worldly and mysterious. Considering the target audience, it still works, if not perfectly.
Caro’s own role plays out some of the ambiguity of the femme fatale character. In classic style she starts as an isolated woman in an otherwise empty mansion awaiting the arrival of the man. The use of cuts of Caro preparing for the role in muted colours plays on the femme fatale as woman playing out a role and set of social expectations; expectations and a role the femme fatale attempts to use to her advantage, so it is no longer a trap controlled by a society of dominant men.
The scene of the couple sitting having some tea (?) with fancy cups suggests the beginning of the relationship – the young man appears shy/distant/uncertain, while Caro almost appears almost demure, but the accompanying lyrics seem to propel relationship much further in time & intensity.
as ocean deep
But now this river that we’re swimming through
is promises we keep ,,,,,,,,
From here the video transitions with cuts to colour and back to B&W. This parallels a transition to a change in setting, a musical performance at a concert/club. We see the young man now alone watching the departing Caro. It shifts to the club setting on stage as Caro comes out and continues singing. The young man is now in the audience; introducing the cinema trope of the nightclub singer ( creative feminine-spirit trapped in a male controlled reality ).
This movement of both characters to the new setting generates an interesting meta-textual element. The young man now represents the audience. The relationship in the song & the video now becomes a metaphor for the singer’s relationship to her audience. Whether intentional or not, it re-enforces the nightclub singer persona that was part of 40s cinema’s constructed reality.
The afterglow that’s down below
Is when I see your smile
And in your eyes, true love assigns
Forever is a word that cries
That I belong to you
That endless nights of far away
Are gone, and you
Could never love another
And I love you too
I see up above
And now I feel the truth -
I belong to you.
Note the degree to which there was an attempt to extend this tone to the CD packaging. The purchaser has entered a world by acquiring a physical artifact. This is more than a digital download or a virtual experience. It is a world of physical substance that is part of a very sophisticated and elaborate constructed reality that will appeal to an audience that wants more than just the music.
The CD case together with the accompanying book re-creates a personal diary & photo album of a young woman from the late 1930s-early 40s.
Caro Emerald plays out the role visually through photographs and short entries linking the songs to events in this fictional world, thereby extending the immersive experience of listening to the vocals performances. To complete the effect the CD is designed to resemble a record from the time period.
In closing, may I just say, Miss. Caro Emerald, if you see this, hope you enjoy the poppies and thanks to my wife, the copy of your CD is mine.
Note : The official video for Caro Emerald’s song “That Man” uses the tropes 1960s cinema opening animated title sequences. For a short analysis see – Implied Spaces: Running Between the Line
For more of my poppy images see – After the Petals – Antique Impressions