Video director Nabil may have cooled your body temperature in Bon Iver’s “Holocene” or “>Kanye West’s “Coldest Winter” videos, or heated it up in Frank Ocean’s “Novacane” last summer. For Antony & the Johnson’s “Cut the World,” he may shear your life’s blood off entirely.
Willem Dafoe plays boss to “Game of Thrones” actress Carice van Houten (Melisandre!), who plays a willowy and heavy-hearted secretary. But, rather than death by fire, Dafoe only has some brief narration with van Houten before he meets his end in a bloody fashion.
In fact, the clip turns into a whole revolt by secretaries, hinting at lust and revenge through a mass action. Is it commentary on the working class? An extreme play on secretarial, deep longings? A spin on stereotype? A feminsit motion? Whatever it is, I’ll remember that final scene in the square for a while to come: the cameo by performance artist and Antony collaborator Marina Abramovi? will stop your heart on its own. Her appearance is reminiscent of the cover shot for Antony and the Johnsons’ “Crying Light,” of butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno.
It’s a curious example, too, of integrating an actual script into a song featuring singing. Dafoe and van Houten have only a scant few lines, appearing mostly in the songwriting gaps, but it works. And bums me out.
“Cut the World” is off of Antony Hegarty and his band’s live album of the same name, itself a previously unreleased, erm, cut from the melancholy songwriter’s catalog. It arrives on virtual and real shelves tomorrow.