Directed by Alessandro Circiello
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Rarely are we asked to write film reviews for music videos, a genre which probably exists more in the music industry than movies. Which is a shame, because the craft is still the same as more traditional, narrative-led shorts and very often the dynamic between the visuals and the audience is really intriguing because there is no dialogue to influence the way we think. Short film-cum-music video LillaLaylo from director Alessandro Circiello, is a soulful journey through effortlessness that captures beautiful visuals with a graceful approach.
Set across the landscapes of San Francisco, LillaLaylo follows the restless musicians of group GSol as they take their tunes anywhere that will fit them. Like a bohemian odyssey, the viewer is treated to numerous locations where the band play, until a particular path seems to be sketched out, the destination of which is revealed in the final seconds of the film.
The most striking aspect to Circiello's film is the roving nature of the camerawork. There is a fluidity to the movie that is in keeping with the tone of the band's journey, this is then furthered by almost frantic tracking shots and zooms in order to keep up with the musicians as they traverse the city. All creating a sense of natural energy to the proceedings. This, in turn, is then bolstered by fantastic use of light! From the opening shots, the use of natural light in many of LillaLaylo's sequences is breathtaking. One particular moment as they cross a field, utilising lense flare, is a really lovely moment.
In terms of story and plot there is not a huge amount to go into. As mentioned there is a certain culmination by the short film's climax, one which audiences may not have been looking for. Some music videos inject more of a potent storyline into their film, but Circiello is telling his tale in a more subtle manner. The story is revealed through tone mostly and during the small moments of juxtaposition, such as the contrast between the aforementioned natural light and the scenes with neon signs and urban chaos. It's filmmaking that asks the viewer to feel rather than see.
It would be senseless to not mention the sound in a music video, and GSol's track which overlays the film is a vibrant song loaded with layers and texture. Build ups of percussion get sprinkled with tuneful keys, there is a gentle acoustic undercurrent and the vocals depict a tone more than a story - much like the film. The music has a whimsical energy and works brilliantly with the journey structure of the film (although I'm sure the pairing was likely music first, film second).
Fans of folk and indie will be in for a glimpse of nirvana should they undertake Circiello's LillaLaylo. It has a gorgeous aesthetic and wonderful tone that is intelligent, effortless and remarkable.
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