Kanye West’s latest project comes in the form of his short film “Cruel Summer,” which the rapper produced, wrote and directed. He premiered the experimental 30-minute flick in Cannes during the city’s famous film festival, providing the audience with a unique experience. Instead of watching the film on one large screen, viewers watched it on seven separate displays, which sometimes showed different angles of each shot at once.
The movie centers on Kid Cudi, who plays a car thief who falls head over heels for a blind Arabian princess. And while the story entertained those in attendance, critics agree that the film’s spectacle and music are what hooked audiences.
“Cudi stars as a thief of high-end sports cars who falls in love with a blind Arabic princess. But the princess’ father won’t allow the pair to marry unless the thief can help her see, so the hero must find a way to make it happen (metaphorically). The story is secondary to the pyrotechnics, with new music from West and a thumping surround-sound quality that makes a 3-D Michael Bay effort feel like an iPad short.” — Steven Zeitchik, 24 Frames
“Inside the tall white pyramid, seven huge screens were installed in front of padded bleacher-style seating: five in a three-180-degree panorama, one on the ceiling, and one below the stands. … The film felt like a mash-up of high-gloss Doug Aitken-style video installations, concert video backing panels, and narrative, big-budget music-videos. The movie flickers to life on the ceiling screen, as a hatch opens and boots drop through and onto the screen below. Soon, masked car thieves played by the G.O.O.D. Music crew survey the sports cars in a posh garage, while a masked Kanye and Kid Cudi engage in a Tarantino-style pop-culture debate. … After bickering, they jump into Lamborghinis and shoot down the streets of Doha to a remix of West’s recent single ’Mercy.’ Then the soundtrack downshifts into a remix of Salem’s ’I’m Still in the Night’ as the film becomes more of a mythic romance, replete with Arabic architecture, desert vistas, and flowing fabrics.” — Logan Hill, GQ
“The film is heavy on the use of music and sound, the seats often shaking from the bass. Several times during the under-30 minute clip, the audience would sway to the beat of the songs, which often feature music from West’s G.O.O.D. music album.” — Rebecca Ford, The Hollywood Reporter
The Final Word
“The big takeaway here for the average Kanye fan is that there’s new music involved, although it’s unclear if that new music is off the G.O.O.D. Music album, was put together just for the flick, or will be released in some as-yet-undecided (but definitely revolutionary) form.
But as a vocal, unashamed fan of ’Ye’s ’Runaway’ movie, I actually can’t wait to see this, Kid Cudi-leading-blind-girl-around-by-strings and everything. Will it be released online? In movie theaters? Or will there be a traveling seven-screen beach pyramid that you and I can one day immerse ourselves in? Dare to dream. Dare to dream.” — Amos Barshad, Grantland