Video Review: Jody Watley “Looking For A New Love”

In the street, a car flashes its headlights. A man walks through a puddle. Another person checks their watch. Grainy footage is seen of Jody Watley dancing.

Someone dials a number on a rotary phone. Two people exchange money and shake on their deal.

Watley runs her hands down a man’s back and then bites her lip. In a bar, the man reaches for his drink and then his head hits the table.

Wearing fishnets, Watley walks down a fire escape and into the street. She hears man call out. In an individual shot, her eyes dart from left to right. A sensor spins in a building. Pages of the telephone book flip due to the wind. Watley rolls over in her bed.

In her high heels, she walks along the littered street, hearing the sounds of a fist fight near some a wall.

In a black-and-white checkered kaleidoscopic view, she looks up above to the camera. Later, it becomes a triangle.

A man listens while another person begins playing the drums.

In shadow, Watley dances as a hand tries to grab her.

She sings in her individual shot, with a black background her with a touch of electric blue highlighting her hair.

In a room with glass windows, Watley dances in a black corset, a clear skirt with black leggings underneath.

Watley’s shoulders are shown as puzzle pieces. She whispers into a man’s ear. During her background shot, marks are drawn by her mouth as she sings.

Over by a warehouse, she dances among the several fountains of white sparks. Her face is split with someone playing a keyboard. She dances on a bench while a man reads his newspaper. However, he looks up several times, wondering what’s bugging her for her to fidget on the bench.

Puzzle pieces of ordinary men seem to be on boxes on stage, switching the pieces. At a table, she twirls her wine glass as a shadow of man’s hand tries to grab her again. She tosses the wine into the man’s face. He jerks back. Against a wall, tree limbs are thrown at her. In a broadly drawn square with a hot lavender border, Watley sings in the moving painting.

As objects fly in the apartment, Watley hugs a wall. She dances by a man, framed in the wall, who turns in his chair, gagged. Over a film strip of her individual shot, Watley dances in black-and-white.

In an early morning blue, she dances by a fence, with a man peeking out through the broken pieces. Watley stands by some foil, the numbers of the clock shadowed on her body.

In bed, a man grabs Watley’s leg and she doesn’t resist. She punches a guy right in the ribs and then puts a hand over another guy’s mouth. She walks by a car, its engine exploding after she leaves.

Rating: 2/5

There about three dozen video ideas stuffed inside of four minutes. It’s a series of abstract images rather than a narrative. However, a narrative does appear every so often, with recurring images. It becomes confusing, which makes the images, shuffled in between some thin fragments of story, with a haphazard message. None of it correlates with the other.

When there is story, it seems to hint at male aggression. A man is either leering at Jody Watley or grab her leg. She pulls back a majority of the video but then gives in towards the end. Two men fight in the streets.

There are an array of captivating images, which explore shape and light: Watley as a clock or singing as moving painting as well as the kaleidoscopic triangle. The use of shape is unconventional, either it’s a crude drawing of a border or a precise angles of a tight triangle. Her body providing the basis as the shadow clock is a throwaway moment that lingers. While it is a powerful message about mortality, it’s out of place in the video.

A puzzle theme is also apparent, with pieces of Jody Watley shown on the screen before it’s complete and then the men being twisted on the stage. It creates another message: everyone is complex and made up of different parts.

The surprising bright spot, though is Watley being fashion forward in her clear skirt,  which was seen in a somewhat different variation on the runways in Spring 2016. It’s ironic, in a video that seems to be servicing Brian Grant’s lifelong dream of his images being displayed as an installation in art gallery for years to come, her outfit is the image most relevant.

 

Director: Brian Grant Year: 1987

 

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