Tuesday, 2 August 2011

"Plan B - The Recluse" Denotation

Performance scene
This is a good example of a video which is heavily narrative based. The album that this song is from (The Defamation Of Strickland Banks) is a concept album telling the story of a fictional character called Strickland Banks that the singer Ben Drew portrays in all the music videos for the album (watch Prayin', Stay Too Long and She Said). This means that the narrative of each video, such as The Recluse, is completely related to the lyrics, and with the other videos. The Recluse actually features clips from Prayin' such as at 0:32. There is even more intertextuality with Plan B's other work, with a 30 second snippet of the song "The Ballad Of Belmarsh" being played at the start of the video. An interesting feature on the official Plan B youtube page is a playlist linking all the videos in order, telling the story of the album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po_ArckLTXg&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=SPA9277FD1F179A601

House shot

The video shows Strickland Banks (Ben Drew) in a variety of different scenarios, such as; in prison, on stage, and at home. There is only one full band performance scene in the video, which appears to be in the characters living room, which had all the curtains closed, which relates to the lyrics and song title, as it conveys that the character doesn't want to be bothered by the outside world. As if the curtains are a protective shield "I don't go outside for nothing, no-one can make me leave this room". A reoccurring aspect of mise-en-scene in this video is dark rooms, with bits of light being let in, such as at 0:52 with the shade being  slightly open, this conveys an invasion of the characters personal space. During the entire video there is cross-cutting from scenes from around his house and scenes from him in prison, this contrast gives a clue into the mind of Strickland Banks, as if he is confused about his current state and having flashbacks of his time in prison. An interesting point in the video where the lyrics directly relate to action in the video is at 1:27, where the female character (Vicky McClure) is clearly trying to tell Ben Drew something with the lyrics over the top "Oh no they can't tell me nothing". Another example of this is when the lyric is "Stops me from getting kicked in, even if it earns me this nickname in prison" (3:17) is immediately followed by a scene where the character gets beaten up in what is clearly a prison cell. A great shot in the video is at 1:33- 1:40, when the character opens the mirrored cupboard he is in prison, then when it is closed he is in his home, using the open cupboard to transition between the two scenes.
Prison shot

The characters aggression is shown on many occasions during the course of the video, such as at 1:08 where he is shouting at the helicopter surveying his house, and at the TV screens at 1:16. These actions relate to the aggressive nature of the song. Another interesting event in the video is timing that the character draws a gun on the people by his pool is at the same time that he is rapping in the song (2:37- 3:22), this links to the stereotype of gun violence in relation to rap music, he also fires a crossbow dart at an image of himself during this time.

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