Carmen Paddock casts her critical eye over the artistic efforts of the Guild President candidates’ promotional videos
It’s that time of year again, time to celebrate the very best of television and cinema: the Golden Globes, the NTAs, the BAFTAs, the Oscars… and the University of Exeter’s very own Students’ Guild election videos! Manifestos and political promises aside, the short videos offer moments of cinematic genius alongside some atrocious filmmaking fails.
In a move akin to Paul Thomas Anderson’s refusal to market The Master in any way other than word-of-mouth, this mysterious candidate has neither submitted a video nor (more shockingly) a manifesto. The Master garnered Awards season buzz, including Oscar nominations, but ultimately lost out to the more mass-market performances. Let’s hope the strategy works better for Ajay.
The strongest point of this theology student’s video is its production design. The stunning minimalist visuals simply follow a hand on draft paper, illustrating (with words and drawings) Rachael’s plan of action if elected as her voiceover provides more details. A clever reveal in the last ten seconds shows this hand to be none other than the candidate’s own. The lack of variety in cinematography might not be as cutting edge as to be expected from potential future leaders, but it is clever and engaging throughout and (thankfully) helps the viewer keep up with the incredible amount of information she crams into just over five minutes.
Within the first minute of this Classics student’s campaign video the BBC and Anchorman are lovingly and beautifully spoofed – an unoriginal filmmaking move but certainly one that lends familiarity and humour to his message, which is clearly outlined amidst the comedy. The mock news style serves to highlight Ronnie’s manifesto’s main points and the farcical montages are wonderfully entertaining, but one almost wishes for a bit more cinematic innovation from a man poised to take the Guild’s top job…
The English student colloquially known as ‘Goat’ has gone for style over substance in his video. The majority of the film consists of James cavorting around campus in a goat suit, dancing with other insanely-costumed people to club remixes, and popping up in frame whilst his supporters pour milk over their heads and real goats scream to pop songs. The effect is frankly disorienting, and by the time he gets around to his message it is almost impossible to focus on it. Daring cinematography is a laudable success here, but the plot is utterly lost.
Not everyone makes the transition from stage to screen, and Joel’s drama student roots are quite evident in this regard. A veteran stage performer, he has not filmed a video for his campaign. Is this a question of artistic purity – a statement championing the present, immediate nature of theatrical arts over the recorded, distant cinematic medium? We will never know, but perhaps we will be treated to a dramatic live performance instead…bookmark me