Kanye West finally debuted his 35-minute film, "Runaway" on television today simultaneously on MTV, MTV2 and BET.
In my opinion, the film, directed by Kanye and written by Hype Williams, is completely brilliant! It's a dark, poignant, otherworldly, passionate love story between Kanye (Griffon) and Selita Ebanks (The Phoenix).
It's pleasing both sonically and visually. Artistically, it pushes the envelope. Kanye fuses different types of music and art, including my favorite scene which incorporates classic ballet and modern African dance. And the music featured is primarily from Kanye's upcoming album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" which I'm so excited about!
It's wrought with symbolism from the Michael Jackson tribute scene (which Kanye says represents our "cult"-like obsession with pop culture) to the "Last Supper" scene where black guests are catered to by white servants and Selita is attacked for being "different" (a guest asks "Do you know your girlfriend's a bird?).
Kanye interpreted the love story between him and Selita for New York Magazine: "It's the story of a phoenix fallen to Earth and I make her my girlfriend, and people discriminate against her and eventually she has to burn herself alive and go back to her world."
Some speculate that the love story between Selita and Kanye is a reference to his relationship with Amber Rose, who as a former stripper was certainly considered different within the Hollywood crowd Kanye operates in. Despite my (and everyone else's) Amber Rose comparisons, Kanye says every woman in his life is represented in the film, including his late mother, Donda West.
His relationship with Amber is an interesting parallel since after Kanye brings Selita into his world (the dinner scene) and she doesn't conform to fit in, she abandons him in a fiery blaze to go back to where she feels comfortable and free.
The scene in the beginning and near the end of the film is him desperately running after her. Pretty haunting and sad if you think of the Phoenix as his Mom, who died trying to conform. In his XXL cover story, Kanye hints at that by associating Los Angeles (and the Hollywood lifestyle) with his Mom's death maintaining that she wouldn't have died anywhere else. And Los Angeles is the world he brought her to, like how he brought the Phoenix to the dinner party...but I digress...
Kanye revealed that the phoenix represents him as well, particularly when he retreated from the public eye after famously embarrassing Taylor Swift at the VMA's and re-emerged a wiser, more tactful Kanye. In that way, if the Phoenix is indeed Amber Rose, it's less about Kanye bringing Amber Rose into his world but more about them existing in a parallel universe where they can both be free and different. That's fascinating to me because it means that Kanye doesn't "fit in" to his world either. He hinted at this on MTV.com yesterday saying he is "an artist that was made a celebrity." Hmm...
Anyway, I could go all day trying to read Kanye's mind! If you missed it, take a moment to watch it, admire the visuals and fashions (by Phillip Lim) and delve into the meaning behind Kanye's symbolism. Tell me what you think about the film.