Feb 6, 2019

Jamie xx – Gosh

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Absolutely amazing direction!

The visionary director shares a behind-the-scenes documentary for ‘Gosh’ and talks filming in a fake version of Paris with 300 Chinese schoolchildren

In the early 2000s, China began building imitations of western cities. It’s possible to visit replicas of English, Swiss, and Californian towns without ever leaving the country – and if you go to Tianducheng, you’ll find yourself in Paris. Tianducheng was originally conceived as a destination for affluent Chinese tourists (it boasts its own Eiffel Tower and Champs Élysées), but due to its size, location, and poor planning, the town houses only a fraction of the population it was built for. For Romain Gavras, a Parisian native, visiting the town was a particularly strange experience. “Most of the time I felt like I was on acid, basically,” the Greek-French filmmaker explains on a balmy evening in east London, “You walk out on the street and you’re in fake Paris and you have Chinese kids saying hello. The whole thing is very fucking meta, very weird, and very confusing.”

Gavras was in Tianducheng to film “Gosh”, the stunning new music video for Jamie xx. The video is a coming-of-age story that stars a black man with albinism and features over 400 Chinese teenagers with bleached blonde hair, setting them against the hyperreal setting of Tianducheng. It’s the sort of video that only Gavras could make: unlike many independent filmmakers, he likes to think big. His audacious video for M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” depicts street racing in a Moroccan desert, while the cinematic visual for Jay Z and Kanye West’s “No Church In The Wild” shows rioters clashing violently with a militarised riot police force. What’s remarkable about “Gosh” is that it was made without using any CGI or 3D effects: as a new making-of documentary shows, what you see is what you get.

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