The course of true love never ran smooth and in Ilya Naishuller
’s latest music videos for Biting Elbows, it runs violently. Released together as companion pieces, the promos co-produced by Versus Pictures and Great Guns for ‘Control’ and ‘Heartache’ parallel unrequited love with abusive manipulation.
As the band’s frontman and a film director, Ilya felt the music videos for the two songs were inseparable stories. Having finished the script for Control’s music video at the same time as finishing the recording of the song ‘Heartache’, the decision was made to create the companion film which demonstrates how hurt can lead to manipulation and vice versa.
Director, Ilya Naishuller comments: “I finished recording Heartache the night I wrote the script for Control, and it became apparent how these two tracks, while being hugely different in tone and sound, were sister songs. Each dealing with love and passion but from opposite perspectives, the victim's and the bully’s. So, it made perfect sense to shoot two videos to complement each other.”
The two films star Russian actor Aleksandr Pal, who Ilya has collaborated with several times. In ‘Heartache,’ Aleksandr is the love sick victim, pining for a woman who refuses his fevered advances. Conducted in sign language, their conversations take on a universal language of heartbreak and rejection. As Aleksandr's sadness grows and evolves into frustration, he is soon lashing out at the people around him. Giving up, he leaves the ostentatious mansion nightclub and heads to the bus stop where his feelings are smashed out of existence.
In ‘Control’, Pal opens his eyes from under the bonnet of a totalled car. He flashes back to the club but this time he is in control. Ignoring his flame from ‘Heartache,’ he first focuses his attention on a blonde next to her. As he takes her out the back, things turn from steamy to unearthly. He administers an alien element of control which infects the room, seeing it descend into a violent orgy which ramps up into a cannibalistic car chase.
Ilya adds: “Originally, the orgy scene in ‘Control’ was written as a literal orgy. But I decided that along with all the ultra-violent elements, I would pull them back to show very short snippets - not lingering on any of the depravity - and let the audience's imagination run wild instead.”
The films were shot over the course of five days in Moscow, Russia. “We shot ‘Heartache’ in about 10 hours in an old mansion, which we decorated to look like two very different clubs. Whereas the shoot for ‘Control’ lasted four days,” says Ilya.
Cut in amongst the two narratives, Ilya and Biting Elbows play the club stage. Real fans were sought from Instagram to fill the pulsing crowd scenes. “We were so overwhelmed with the amount of people who showed up as a result of the Instagram call that we had to separate two hundred of them evenly between the two videos!” Ilya exclaims.
‘Heartache’ and ‘Control’ were released on Biting Elbows’ YouTube channel on 26th June 2019.
Actor: Alexandr Pal
Costume: Anna Kudevich
Director: Ilya Naishuller
DOP: Andrey Krauzov
Editor: Vlad Kaptur and Vlad Yakunin
Executive Producer: Egor Solomatin
Producer: Ilya Naishuller, Ekaterina Kononenko, Ruben Adamyan
Production Company: Versus Pictures, Great Guns
Production Design: Dmitriy Onishchenko