You don’t know how lucky you are

This won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I thought I’d post this music video up because I think it’s really striking and powerful.

A lot of my childhood was spent in mid Wales, where the barren craggy landscapes and tumbledown slate ruins seem to hold a memory of generations of hardship. Where small Welsh mining communities once toiled, often there is now emptiness. A distant echo of long dead industry. A silence broken only by sheep, wind and small avalanches of scree.  Finding a mouldy sheep skull among nettles in a rocky pile that used to be someone’s fireplace, you wonder how people ever called this place home. How did they ever make ends meet, and huddle here against the cold?

Nothing happens in this video, yet still it stirs up all these thoughts and memories.

Or rather, a lot happens in this video, but all of it is played out on the face of a lone woman.

The music video is for a track by Keaton Henson, titled You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are.

That’s pretty mesmerising isn’t it?

I do really like the song, but I have to say I admire the director, David Wilson, for pulling off so much in a single shot. And I think Sophie Thompson gives an acting masterclass. She does so much with so little. Whatever you may think her character’s story is, you can’t deny how extremely moving she is to watch.

The video was filmed not in Wales, but in Dartmoor, where in the nineteenth century my ancestors would have been living. Yet still it speaks to me of life on those harsh Welsh mountainsides.

We don’t know how lucky we are, indeed.

7 Comments

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  1. Flipping heck. That’s really quite an experience to watch. It gives me indigestion just thinking about how she acted that, and they filmed it. Quite amazing.

    Certainly makes me think that not enough music videos are set in times gone by.

  2. Geodaddi

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall. Can you imagine the Director’s instructions? “Just stand there and cry for 4 minutes….” Very good, but I must admit that I think it would be improved if there was a 2 second reveal at the end. I don’t know what, perhaps a cart moving into the distance, or is she standing by a coffin? Just what is the event that has brought the hardship to a head?

  3. Ben Turk

    I like the ambiguity. It also makes me think that you would never see this on TV. The internet allows distribution of things for all attention spans.

    • I actually agree with you, Ben.

      The power of a single-shot piece like this is in conjuring up things that aren’t there, as minimally as possible, in the mind of the viewer.

      It’s like a stage monologue. The narrative, the emotions, even the time period – all of this has to be inferred from the actress alone: her costume, her age, her crying. Nothing more, nothing less.

      To add any additional camera angles, background extras, prop reveals – in fact anything that isn’t immediately visible from beginning to end, would change the creative challenge that this video accomplishes. It would become like the opening sequence of a film, rather than a self-contained study of an emotional moment.

      Watching this video is like looking at a painting.

  4. Lauren Coomber

    Been trying to find the actress’s name for so long! Incredible Sophie Thompson, beautiful, personal, AH the most amazing capture of emotional depth.

    • Chef Richard *

      Glad to be of service! It’s an amazing performance, isn’t it? She does so much with so little.

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