Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Man Down - Rihanna

Artist - Rihanna
Year - 2011 
Director - Anthony Mandler 
Audience - Teenagers 
Type - Performance/Narrative 
Genre -  Reggae 

Man Down" is a song performed by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna, taken from her fifth studio album Loud (2010). "Man Down" received positive reviews from music critics, with many calling it a comeback of Rihanna's Caribbean-tinged rhythm.- (Wikipedia)

The video for Man Down focuses on Rihanna having shot a man, and later on regretting her actions. The video had some kind of violent nature to it, so due to this The Parent Television Council fought to have the video banned, however failed with no success. The music video for Man Down  was shot in Jamaica in April 2011. Here is a quote from the director of Man Down, taken from Wikipedia 
"We shot the video last month in Jamaica and it's my favourite song she's ever recorded, so I was really excited to get involved. And it's just one of those songs that demands a strong narrative and visual, and let's just say she let me go all the way. So I think you can expect something that's dramatic and shocking and intense and emotional and uplifting and enlightening".
The video begins and we see a crowd of Jamaican people walking around what looks like a village, the setting is immediately set in the first scene. We then see Rihanna slowly walking out of what seems to be a path way, walking through the darkness, the camera is revealing her slowly whilst cutting back to the village in between. We then at 28 seconds in see a flash of a gun, the crowd starts walking around, no music has started at this point, then suddenly we see a man being shot from behind, we then see a close up on a red head, with smoke coming from her which appears to be Rihanna. Whilst the camera is then focusing on the shot man, Rihanna is seen running away from the scene.

A title then appears saying " Yesterday Morning" signifying  a flashback is about to happen.  The music then begins at 50 seconds into the video, with a close up on a happy looking Rihanna riding a bike, through the village from the beginning, keep the setting the same, showing continuity. 
The flashback could be used to help create a timeline of events leading up to the shooting to help the audience understand why the shooting took place. 
A clip in between is also shown of Rihanna sitting in a low lighted room maybe showing the time of day  on the edge of her bed, looking sad, the camera then cuts back to her walking through the town.
At 1:13 the camera cuts back to the bedroom where we see Rihanna beginning to sing, with flashes of her laughing and joking in the village, this could signify that the Rihanna sat in the bedroom is remembering what happened and regretting what she did by saying " I didn't mean to end his life" at 1:14. Even though the lyrics and meaning to this song are pretty dark, Rihanna still manages to keep that sexy look that she creates by wearing short tops, low cut dresses clearly highlighting her breasts, and also the flirtatious looks she gives the man in a flashback. 

The camera then cuts to a scene of Rihanna entering a nightclub, at 2:54, then begins to dance, red lights for special effects of the nightclub are used during this scene, which could signify blood or danger, again leading up to the events shown at the very beginning of the video. Rihanna then begins to flirt with another person in the club, who turns out to be the man she shot in the beginning. 
Rihanna sex appeal is still again clearly highlighted especially in this scene of the club, as you can see at 3.35 onwards she is seen flirting in very skimpy clothes whilst dancing and grinding on the man ,keeping " the Rihanna look" but also at the same time showing the "Male Gaze" theory of how women are seen and treated, this video for me highlights this very good. The quick flashes used during this scene highlights the pace and tension of music getting faster and also maybe the danger in the video building up to the shooting. 

The camera then shows Rihanna walking out of the club and the man she was dancing with following her out, looking for her, the man then begins to get violent. In between this scene the camera keeps cutting to her in a boat in what appears to be a waterfall river, this to some audience could signify her happy place, a more tranquil place to ease on the violence. 
The music then stops at 5:09 and we see Rihanna crying in a street and then running down a road after what appears to have been a sexual assault, clearly hurt and scared, towards a draw where she pulls the gun from, there is a close up used to highlight Rihanna's face and the gun, signifying the conclusion of the video is clearly the beginning where she shoots the man. 
Rihanna received a lot of controversy and complaints for this video, due the murder scene, and what appears to be sexual assault scene. Parents were worried that this video would be showing young girls it is right to kill someone who has raped or sexually abused you. 
However Rihanna replied by saying  
"I'm a 23 year old singer who doesn't have kids. What's up with everybody wanting me to be a parent [to their children]? I'm just a girl, I can only be our voice. We all know it's difficult and embarrassing to communicate touchy subject matters to anyone, especially our parents. The music industry isn't "Parent's 'R Us." We have the freedom to make art; let us! It's your job to make sure your children don't turn out like us. You can't hide your kids from society, or they'll never learn how to adapt. This is the real world!" - Wikipedia  


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