If there’s one undeniable truth about Kanye West, it’s that he never goes for the lay-up; he only knows how to shoot three-pointers with Kobe Bryant in his face. On Wednesday night (October 6), West showed his 35-minute film “Runaway” at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts screening room in London. He told the audience that his work was inspired by nothing less than Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which is widely considered to be one of the greatest music videos of all time.
According to the BBC, West introduced the film by saying, “’Purple Rain’, [Pink Floyd’s] ’The Wall’, Michael Jackson’s ’Thriller’ — I wanted to do a modern version of that.”
He said about “90 percent” of the music featured in the film appears on his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, due out on November 22.
The arty film follows West (playing a character named “Griffin”) as he falls in love with a woman (model Selita Ebanks, who has been pictured by West’s side recently) who takes the form of a phoenix who has crashed down on Earth from another world. They fall in love, but she is discriminated against and is eventually forced to return to her own world by bursting into flames.
MTV UK reported that there is little dialogue in the often-abstract movie, which has five main scenes. One, cued to the song “Lights,” is comprised of a marching band, a boy in a red hood and a gigantic papier-mâché model of Michael Jackson’s head.
The title track is linked to a scene in which West, wearing all white, is shown leaving a dinner; he then runs over to a piano and is joined by a group of ballet dancers, all dressed in black. It seems to be a variation on the visuals West presented at the VMAs and during his recent “Saturday Night Live” performance . The final scene is scored by the recently leaked , Bon Iver-sampling song “Lost in the World.”
The English blog Hip Hop Chronicle divulged that the opening scene features images of West running as Nicki Minaj provides a voiceover in a British accent. And while Hip Hop Chronicle reported that Hype Williams wrote the script, according to the BBC, it was written by West along with art director Vanessa Beecroft and producer Jonathan Lia.
During a two-hour Q&A session after the screening, West said “Runaway” would receive a worldwide premiere over the next two weeks and would be packaged inside the Fantasy album.
West said the movie is an “overall representation of what I dream,” and he added that he drew further inspiration from such Impressionist master painters as Picasso and Matisse.
“With the passing of Michael Jackson, I feel a responsibility to bring things to our generation that can inspire and bring real culture to pop culture,” he said about the film, which was shot in Prague last month. “I want to use my power in a proper way.”