Thursday, November 03, 2011
She and Him's "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here (Version 2)
Directed by Marc Webb, United States, 2009, 4 Minutes.
This film is about a man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who enters a bank with the intent to rob it. Little does he know, the female bank teller (Zooey Deschanel) behind the counter is bored and looking for a little adventure in her life. In the first few seconds of the video, we are following the man, but the minute he meets the woman, she becomes the dominate character and so does the song, which, if we did not already know, the actress/singer Deschanel sings. The video becomes the dream world of the bank teller, her desire to dance and interact with this mysterious and handsome male customer. In the end, the man leaves with the money, and we are not sure if he has experienced her fantasy too, or if he fears she will confront him and alert the bank of his thievery.
This music video is the second one made for this song, and the higher quality of the two. Directed by Marc Webb, this music video was released to promote his film (500) Days of Summer also starring Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt (G-L)--also, Deschanel wanted to promote her band and their latest song. I like this video because it is whimsical, well-stylized, and a stand-alone yet additive for the feature film. Though the characters are different between music video and feature, they have similar character attributes. For one, Deschanel always wears the color blue in (500) Days and that is carried on to her bank teller who wears blue vintage style clothing. As for G-L, he is able to show off his dance moves in a dream sequence similar to the scene in (500) Days where he dances to Hall and Oats' "You Make My Dreams Come True". This music video short successfully develops Webb's directing style, and She and Him's image. Also, I like that this video compliments the song, and does not do a lyric play-by-play.
G-L's character has so much mystery to him. Why is the man robbing a bank? Does he want to? I pose these questions because I had never seen the first few seconds of the man's development until I found this longer version of the video. Starting the film in a bar and watching the man swig back a little more than a shot appears to me that he is about to do something that he does not enjoy. I love how the bank teller's fantasy is interrupted with reality throughout the video. When she and the man are dancing on top of the desks, they take turns, him first, then her, and while she is dancing, we get a shot of the man checking his watch. We can take this gesture to mean two things: either he is being playful and gesturing that her solo dance is taking too long, or it is his non-fantasy character telling her to hurry with the money and stick it in the bag. Furthermore, fantasies follow a different time pattern than reality. In retrospect, this 4 minute video is really about 3 seconds long--the bank teller's fantasy is occurring while she and the man are looking at each other, and he, now exposed without sunglasses, is discerning whether or not she will tell the rest of the bank about the robbery.