I think we know by now that Romain Gavras is not a director who likes to hold back. Last week his video for Jay-Z & Kanye West’s ‘No Church In The Wild’ arrived and it is filled with the style, panache and controversy that you would expect from the Greek/French director.
Filmed on the streets of Prague, the video depicts a violent riot between protestors and police. It’s a visually stunning and hard-hitting piece of work which showcases Gavras as a skilled visual filmmaker. Yet despite these things ‘No Church In The Wild’ is a misjudged affair. Vacant of any political message, the video shows a riot purely for the sake of a riot. This is nothing more then an exercise in style – dig deeper and you won’t find anything of substance here.
Rather distastefully Gavras has decided to shoot this video in and around the same streets of Prague that once held the Velvet Revolution – a non-violent revolution in 1989 that protested against the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Unlike this video, the protestors didn’t hold molotov cocktails, instead they held flowers and candles and successfully brought about the dismantling of the single-party state.
Gavras’ video feels disingenuous, superficial, irresponsible and perhaps even misogynistic. This is nothing more then an attempt to capitalize on the ‘revolution dollar’. It exploites legitimate protests and revolution simply because revolution is the current cool. Lets not forget – Jay-Z and Kanye West are the 1%. Despite the impressive visuals on display, this video feels as though Gavras has cashed-in on the causes of others and churned out something hollow and vacant. Check out the video above and make up your own mind.