Video Review: M.I.A. “Paper Planes”

In black-and-white, paper planes fly over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, New York. People walk in the city, holding their umbrellas.

M.I.A. works in the back of a food truck. She hands a customer a sandwich wrapped in tinfoil. A second customer gives her a necklace in exchange for food.

She dances by a gate.

She counts money in the cash register. She sits by a kiosk of counterfeit designer purses.

In a convenience store, she picks out several beverages.

Back in black-and-white, people of various nationalities walk on the sidewalk.

She walks with the people in the neighborhood. The cash register rings in the video store. She dances in one of the aisles of the video store. She drives the food truck.

In black-and-white, the paper planes fly throughout the city.

Rating: 5/5

M.I.A. peers out of her mirror as she heads towards further into New York City, New York. She checks for her papers in the glove compartment and turns right. Usually, no one asked. However, there was usually the one person who questioned her patriotism if they didn’t like her service.

She parks the car by an office building. Caucasian men and women walk out of the building. Some approached her and asked her how much a sandwich cost. Some turned up their nose, stating it was too ethnic for them and wanted to know if she had any alternatives like hamburgers. During a break, she walks into a store and receives stares as she looks at clothes. A twentysomething clerk complains that she’s bored and wishes she didn’t have to work. M.I.A. puts the clothes back on the pile and walks out of the store. She’ll buy something from the local stores in her neighborhood.

Back at home, she speaks Sri Lankan with a few people in the neighborhood. She had mixed up a word and the Sri Lankan people told her she was becoming more American every day and note that she’s losing her accent. M.I.A. writes out a check and puts it in an envelope. It’ll help her family in Sri Lanka. She straightens out her application for citizenship and calls her lawyer. As she walks to her second job, she overhears conversations in at least 7 different languages.

On the television, she watches the local news and writes notes. There were some words she didn’t know. A thirtysomething woman inquires about a fake Prada purse. She says it’s just like it. The thirtysomething woman pays for it in cash. She turns off the television and closes the shop.

Director: Bernard Gourley Year: 2008

Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit ,Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine . Fevers of the Mind, and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kirstofia anthology.

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