The level of finesse Christine and the Queens brings to her performances made her one of our favorite live acts of last year. Her beautiful modern choreography pushes her into a different sphere of pop music, one that aligns more with fine art than club floors. In her new video for “Comme si”, the French artist doubles down on her creativity with a Krump dance routine based on a painting based on a play.
Directed by David Wilson (Tame Impala’s “Let it Happen”, Arcade Fire’s “We Exist”) and choreographed by Alexandre Moreau, the clip for the Chris cut was shot in a gorgeous natural pool in Thailand. As Héloïse “Chris” Letissier splashes through the water with her raw, jerking dance moves, she presents a reimagining of Ophelia’s end from Hamlet. Aesthetically inspired by Sir John Everett Millais’ painting “Ophelia”, the clip is basically visually stunning, but gets even more impressive when you hear Letissier’s explanation.
First, take a look at the clip below.
Now, let Letissier explain that wondrous thing you just watched:
“For me, the whole idea of the video is to twist the terrible ending of Ophelia, as a myth, an idea. In Hamlet, Ophelia is, of course, the unlucky lover, the rejected one; but her madness and the suicide that ensues is also symptomatic of a whole era: the young girl, unwanted, unloved, simply cannot live. She’s doomed, she disappears, she melts with nature. Insanity is also really interesting in this play, for it is the sign of a mind deranged by rejection, as if she couldn’t remain in the world after being unwanted by Hamlet. Looking at Millais’ painting, and thinking of ‘Comme si’ as this erotic reverie of subverting rejection with self-empowerment, I started to dream of giving that myth a welcomed, witty twist. Let’s undo that tragic ending; let’s cheat death, if you will.
Let’s bring Ophelia back from the dead, to express her desire and madness with exhilaration, as something that elevates her, instead of pushing her to the shores of death. With that fantastic what if, everything became possible; what if Ophelia is oozing with a strange power, her own? What if we brought something extremely modern like Krump to express lust, to bring humor and creepiness, to make Ophelia our own hero? What if it was time to tell a new story, one that brings us more ecstasy than the one we’re used to being told? The choreography uses the idea of unrequited love, like in the song’s lyrics, but since it’s Krump, we can add dark humor to it, cartoonish vibes if we want. Krump is perfect to me because it’s wild, sometimes with the childish energy of mime, sometimes with the pure stamina of jabs, and it can tell all the nuances of crazy love, use darkness as something contagious. Ophelia, raised from the water, battles furiously with it, and the original painting is suddenly shattered by a powerful feminine figure who finds another way to be unforgettable.”
If she brings that sort of expressiveness to her music video, just imagine what she has in store when she takes the Coachella stage this weekend. Christine and the Queens performs on Saturday, April 13th, and those not at the fest can catch her set during the YouTube webcast at 9:15 p.m. PST/12:15 a.m. EST.
Between the ‘Chella weekends, Christine and the Queens will appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, serving as the musical guests for the Tuesday, April 16th episode. You can catch her at festivals all summer like Glastonbury, Boston Calling, and Primavera Sound. She also has a co-headlining date with Blood Orange in Santa Barbara later this month, plus three gigs with Florence + The Machine in May. Grab tickets here.
Chris was one of our favorite records of last year, while the single “Girlfriend” was one of the best tracks. Yeah, she had a pretty big 2018. Grab Chris and other Christine and the Queens releases on vinyl here.