Video Review: Zayn “Pillowtalk”

As the camera circles a black room, white fluorescent lights shoot to the top of the screen while others fade into outlines.

Lit in crimson , Gigi Hadid puts her thumb on Zayn’s lips, the imbalanced angle tilted to the left.

In black-and-white, a drawing of Zayn’s face fills the screen, blowing white smoke to the bottom.

Alone and lit in crimson while in the dark, Zayn isn’t sure what to do with his hands. With an uncertain look, he tries to be as non-threatening as possible.

White flowers, with an exception of a raspberry one, fill the screen. The flowers turn into a sheet of white and disappear.

Against a charcoal background, Hadid’s image is stretched three different ways in a  disappropriate manner. The camera curves to the right, multiplying her face and arms. With her head turned and eyes closed, her hair is a sheet of tan which returns to normal once she faces the camera. Her image distorts, cut off from the side and shrunk.

A woman with silver spikes on her head looks down and then opens her eyes when she feels the light on her. The woman screams and her spikes poke out further.

In the charcoal background, Zayn’s images flashes, turning into an underdeveloped photo before returning to normal again. He is shown twice, his image on the left, distorted. Red and yellow light outline his face. He turns to the side, the colors of his clothes stretch, forming a coffin-like box.

In a black-and-white sketched background with intertwining lines, with touches of peach and teal, he and Hadid embrace. Hadid screams and breaks the guitar. As they kiss, the image turns into a negative.

Against a rough mauve background, a naked woman with a half hearts drawn on her nipples spreads her legs, revealing a red flower. The uneven light creates a bluish shadow on her body.

In the crimson light, Hadid runs her hand through her hair from various angles.

An image of tan triangles turn into Hadid’s distorted face. Red paint drips to the bottom of the screen. A rush of silver and marble turn into Hadid in a metallic dress.

A naked woman presses against a fuchsia and cherry red striped painted mesh.

Against a black background, Zayn puts his hand on Hadid’s cheek, while their skin and hair turns into smoke around them.

With a black-and-white striped V background, two women in black silhouette prepare to box. One woman punches the other.

In the black background, Zayn’s image turns into a kaleidoscope. In black-and-white, his hands reach towards her bra. In a faded emerald green, Hadid shouts. In a circle, three people sit, lit in a sterile blue.

Zayn’s body disappears as the screen turns black-and-white, using his head (in silhouette) as the center of the stripes. It bounces back to several people sitting across from the each other, holding hands in the sterile blue. As a woman spreads open her legs, the rose blossoms. The iridescent paint drips like icicles.

In a sickly blue, a naked woman leans against her lover, frozen in cherry red. With her head backwards, blood drips from Hadid’s eyes. The red falls onto the screen. Her lover’s body becomes tentacles.

A silhouette billows of Hadid and Zayn about to kiss. She breathes fire in his mouth. White paint covers the flowers on the screen.

Against a black background, black liquid falls from his eyes and he puts his head down.

In black-and-white, two faces are close to each other, blowing smoke.

The colors from the flowers pour down on the screen. Red smoke emits from an unseen face.

Zayn’s head turns into a silhouette again and twists into the black-and-white abyss.


Rating: 5/5

The artistry is fantastic. The drawing of Zayn is complicated and difficult to discern. While the smoke is visible, the face seems to be a collage of images forming together without any purpose. To really appreciate it, it needs to be paused to view the detail: the half-opened eye, the uneven whiskers on his beard, the spiked wisps of hair.

Other highlights include the woman pressing into the painted mesh and the worn silhouette for Zayn and Hadid ready to kiss.

It also pushes boundaries. The women naked spreading her legs, both in her own segment and then showing her legs at the top of screen, returning back to the flower. She’s lit in a way that’s to be hidden and shameful. The woman wants to break through the oppressive lighting and social norms.

In another image that is more artful than lurid, a woman, who seems to be encased in light, holds onto her the faded image of her lover, whose colors are spilling all over. The woman, encased in light, is seeking to evade the loneliness and find security. It’s the most harrowing image, given that the lover seems to be leaving. The lover fears leaving, though but knows it’s inevitable.

Love as horror is suggested when Hadid and Zayn cry red and black, respectively. Both of them will leave the relationship scarred, becoming a shell of themselves.

It explores drawing and surrealism, pressing the idea of what a racy image actually is and posing its own questions. It’s a striking series of images that could be put on a wall in an art gallery.

Director: Bouha Kazmi  Year: 2016

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