Directed by Toby Wulff | Reviewed by Debopam Deb Roy
Homeless is a music video directed by Toby Wulff, a German filmmaker, director and video artist. The video is an outstanding piece of work that compliments the song and music composed by the artist Nani. It is originally a ballad that narrates the life of a homeless, old man who has got nothing to lose and lives freely under the sky. The lyrical verses used in the ballad are simple yet powerful, drawing comparison between the life of the homeless man and the life of ordinary men in the world outside. While the lyrics carry much meaning and reflect on the tragic state of the homeless man, the music video is equally praiseworthy as it is at pace with the ballad, hence lifting the emotional quotient of the ballad exponentially. Both the artist and the filmmaker have made a commendable impact on the viewers because of their dynamic expressions through the song and the cinematic lens, thus inspiring several others to embark on similar projects. Considering how the world has become intolerant and humane values are ever so changing, this emotional ballad is a sad reflection of a living a lonely life where everyone around you pretends like you do not exist.
The thorough use of monochromatic colour tone to project a dull, grey world and to establish a tragic mood is unquestionably credible in this aspect. Colour, in general, has a very big impact on the viewer’s visual experience as the aesthetics of various shades of a colour is strictly psychological. Monochrome is best suited for establishing a dramatic space, to give a dreamlike view of the world. In other cases, a monochromatic colour tone is used to lay special emphasis on a particular subject, rather than the subject’s immediate surroundings. In case of Homeless, a combination of both the factors come into play. Not only does the subject get special emphasis in the music video, but the stark dissimilarity between him and the real world also becomes apparent. Albeit the colour tone plays an important role in the film, we should also lay emphasis on the camera movement to track the movement of the subject. Most of the scenes in the video use hand held camera movements that follow the subject across various spaces. This constant movement makes the subject livelier in comparison to the world where he resides. Even though he is homeless and lonely, we see him dancing to his own tune, lost in his own thoughts.
The production design exceeds expectations in this case, with good use of costume, props and make up. Same can be said in case of acting as the subject’s dynamicity has been portrayed quite well by the video director. The video being shot outdoors and, in the streets, gave the subject ample scope to move about freely and use the space according to his own requirement, for which the actor could do justice to the role he was playing. One more thing that needs mentioning is the vivid camera angles from which the subject has been shot. Close-ups, medium close-ups and top angle shots to capture the facial expressions of the subject upped the content quality of the music video. Throughout the video, we see our main subject in various moods, thus emphasizing the fact that he is carefree and an easy-going soul trapped inside a world that does not value his existence. The lyrics of the song used in the video when juxtaposed with the various moods of the subject evokes a myriad of emotions from within the viewer. He is shown as a person who is silent about his suffering and non-complainant by nature. He has learnt to be happy with whatever he gets to live by, which includes wasted food from trash cans, half burnt cigarettes on the road, sleeping under the open sky and on the roads, etc. Through these shots and the associated lyrics from the song, we get to understand how a homeless person has nothing, yet everything to keep him happy. In other words, the music video Homeless shows us the peripheries of being without company or anyone to care about, yet finding all the happiness in this world.