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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Music Video History: Joy Division Atmosphere

It’s a funeral of mourning and slapstick. Children or midgets dressed in Druid robes conduct the ceremony on a beach, and waddle around carrying a church steeple and iconic photographs of St. Ian Curtis.

The first impression is that director Anton Corbjin made a tasteless tribute to Joy Division’s late singer and drifter of Britain’s post-industrial wasteland. Yet, the band’s brooding, hymnal melodies and tribal, danse macabre rhythms still takes hold of the viewer, and the visuals soon make sense.

Corbjin lets the music flow with the gritty, decayed black and white cinematography, and he only displays the band and Curtis in still photographs, as if Joy Division is just a fading memory. Corbijn beautifully captures the moment when you lose a loved one, and you walk outside to see everything around you in stinging detail. Unforgettable.

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