As I said previously in my May Favourites post I had been obsessively listening to Suzy’s Yes No Maybe, but it was for good reason, to write an ‘analysis’ (used loosely) on the music video as I used it as research for my college work, which was based entirely on colour for context, and God knows I need content for this blog so here it is, as promised. Please note, everything I say here is pure crap, don’t take note on anything I say. I have no idea what I’m talking about and I’m lying through my teeth, I’m not trying to sound bigheaded or that I know everything because I really don’t I just know some fancy camera words because that’s what I’ve been doing (for better or for worse) for the past 3 years. It really is all lies. But now my work has been marked and I won’t get arrested by UAL for plagiarising my own research here it is. (This has been directly copied from a word document and having to reinsert the pictures was an actual living hell please even if you don’t even read any of this just look at the pictures, maybe click on them a bit, it’s all I ask.).
Suzy Yes No Maybe Music Video Research Analysis
Yes No Maybe is reminiscent of Wong Kar Wai, one of the leading influential directors of 1990’s Hong Kong cinema. Mimicking the signature style of a love story story line replicating shots from Chungking Express and Fallen Angels. Possessing an intentionally grainy texture gives the effect of being shot on film adding to the overall quality and aesthetic the film possesses.
A silent montage of Suzy staring aimlessly around the streets and rooftops of Hong Kong, with quick flashing images of a bathroom scene accompanied by audio of heavy breathing and a phone ringing dominate the opening scenes foreshadowing later events.
Shots of Suzy waking up after stumbling home the night before commencing the opening storyline, fighting her indecision to call her lover, wanting not too but is unable to tear herself away from the thought of him.
Getting ready to meet him at a diner after ultimately calling him Suzy is filled with irresolution. Gazing at him with looks of anxiety and boredom, knowing she doesn’t want to be with him but not being able to keep herself any from him. Suzy and the man are suspended in time raising the tension as the world moves around them.
Introducing a technique which is heavily used, by using a slower shutter speed and a lower aperture, causing Suzy to be the central focus of the shots. The raising contrast mimics the effects of motion blur replicating a drunk effect. The incoherent movement gives the viewer an insight into Suzy’s sense of not being able to determine her own choices and being easily influenced by her lover, such are the effects of alcohol. The grainy film effect also adds to this by blurring the vision which indicates Suzy’s turbulent indistinct thoughts.
The next scene cuts to Suzy alone into a laundromat. Staring longingly in boredom to which she is pulled out of (by her lover), as he extends his reach she immediately accepts. Cutting to a shot of her stumbling down the aisles of a Jewellery store the rush and thrill he gives her causes her to take the items she wants without looking back. Causing her to fall into a dangerous cycle, again using the motion effect to show her discomposure and influence.
In juxtaposition to this the next scene taking place in the much calmer setting of her bedroom, flooded with a red filtered light caused by her curtains. Colour is a prominent feature of this music video, each set beholding its own scheme, containing a key narrative of the story. The lighter shade of red reflecting the sultriness of the colour symbolising the intimacy and seduction of the scene shifting to a darker shade when met with her lovers gaze expressing the guilt and anger she harbours towards him as she hates the person she becomes when she’s with him but also hates how she can’t stay away from him.
The orange displays the indecisive grey area, not being as aggressive as the red but still invoking visibility. A mixture of dark orange and red-orange is used, which is synonymous with deceit and distrust, desire, sexual passion and aggression, an element of hesitancy is implied as she tries and walk away from him.
The blue implies the boredom and despondence that is felt when he is not around. The colours and exposure also represent a cycle and routine of night and day showing Suzy’s conflicting emotions, starting off lovingly, but guilt ridden, then haunted by her choices and hesitancy then ending depressed and aloof with hints of anxiety.
Suzy covers her lover’s eyes removing breaking his line of sight causing him to no longer be able to gaze at her. As the camera is always focused on Suzy, blurring all else from vision, using a shallow depth of field, her gaze is always a poignant feature, knowing she’s being watched she always stares back, looking directly into the camera, at partner, with a look of discordance and emptiness.
As the story progresses the exposure lessens and the contrast rises causing the colours to be more vivid and exaggerated, the lucidity of Suzy’s state become more prevalent. Stumbling around Honk Kong in a frenzied haze the narrative reaches it’s darkest point in correspondence to the onscreen visuals after just potentially killing her partner.
A close-up shot of Suzy washing her hands is the next scene under orange lighting, the contrast returned to its original state, meaning Suzy has now found peace and clarity, zooming out to reveal two dead bodies. Returning to Suzy’s gaze showing the first signs of vulnerability which was once masked by her facade of desolation showing how Suzy really sees herself and now how she is being perceived by the camera – her lover. The two bodies may not be a direct meaning of killing her lover and a girl he cheated on her with but instead, it may symbolise Suzy leaving the dangerous relationship and her unhealthy love showing a part of her died because of it.
Leaving the scene in silence, a familiar shot starts to appear again, Suzy alone in bed about to wake up shrouded in red, showing that the cycle is about to repeat itself. A traditiBuddhistdhist saying appears “The flag does not move, the wind is not blowing, it is just your heart that is beating” implies that Suzy’s thoughts misinterpreted the love to be more dangerous and harmful than the actual reality of the relationship.
I chose this research as the constant changing of bright, vibrant exaggerated colours is something that relates directly to my project, the overall vague crypticness is something else that appeals to me. It could either have a deeper hidden meaning or it’s all just set up to make people look for a meaning when in reality there isn’t one. I was unable to source the director of the music video to look into more of their works but the high clarity, exaggerated, underexposed editing style is something I would like to try as well as shooting continuously with a shallow depth of field, regardless of the distance of the subject matter to implement into my own work. The contrasting exposure between the night and day scenes is another technique that has interested me. The natural lighting of the day scenes between the artificially lit diner, and the darkness of the Hong Kong street scenes, but maintaining the iSO and therefore the lower exposure to keep in with the dark narrative aesthetic of the story, is something else I would like to learn how to do.