alt-J 'Pleader' by Isaiah Seret

alt-J 'Pleader' by Isaiah Seret
  • By David Knight
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From alt-J's striking original idea, Isaiah Seret has crafted an experimental epic for their song Pleader that draws on different artforms and ultimately has nearly spawned a new one. This is a music video that could also described as a short dramatic musical. 

It's set in a coal mining community in a South Welsh valley in the early 20th century, and at the heart of it is a young miner and his wife. But their fate is bound up with the decisions made by the whole community, who decide that the woman has to produce a child. In that way, they sew the seeds of their own destruction - but this is just as much about the boy with special powers who is left behind. 

In the midst there are real scenes of birth and destruction, powerful performances from Sophie Cookson and Morgan Watkins as the couple, and Ewan Hipperson as Llewelyn, their son, and a huge supporting cast. There's enough surprise and mystery here to keep you coming back looking for answers. And at its core, a breathtaking sequence: the terrible power of a volcanic cloud, destroying everything and everyone in its path.


 

From the director

ISAIAH SERET:

"Alt J’s Pleader is crafted as a short film musical, drawing inspiration from the novel How Green Was My Valley, the photos of Bruce Davidson, Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, and the lyrics themselves. 

"Set in a Welsh mining village amidst the backdrop of impending doom, PLEADER is the story of a community whom, in their supernatural wisdom, believes the birth of a child could save their valley from destruction. And while the child, blessed with a magnetic force, cannot stop the machines of war, his survival preserves the institutional memory of the land.

"Shot over three days in Wales, and produced by Biscuit UK, the film stars Sophie Cookson, Morgan Watkins, Anton Saunders, and Ewan Hipperson. It was brought to life with digital magic from Time Based Arts, who spent weeks creating these digital effects, and shot by cinematographer John Lynch and production designed by Marie Lanna. ‘

"When starting into the journey, the band sent me [director Isaiah Seret] one line to describe the video they want — an elegiac supernatural love story that ends in a tidal wave of earth hurtling toward the village. And I wanted to give them this film, but to bring in the transcendent feeling the music created for me, we put the tidal wave in the middle and ended it with the Child's return."
 

Credits

Director
Isaiah Seret
Producer
Sonya Sier
Production Company
Biscuit Filmworks
Executive Producer
Rupert Reynolds-MacLean
Director of Photography
John Lynch
Focus Puller
Rupert Hornstein
Production designer
Marie Lanna
Costume designer
Mr Gammon
Casting director
Kharmel Cochrane
Production Manager
Rebecca Mason
1st AD
Louis Barron
Editor
Stewart Reeves
Editing company
Work Post
Post production company
Time Based ArtsTime Based Arts website
Colourist
Simone Grattarola
VFX Supervisor
Sheldon Gardner
Director's Rep (UK)
Chloe Page at Lock It InChloe Page at Lock It In website
Commissioner
Andrew Law
Story
Joe Newman & Isaiah Seret
Production Coordinator
Jana Nouskova, Elena Argiros
Production Assistant
Gabija Lauce
Executive Logistic Manager
Nick Sier
1st Assistant Director
Louis Barron
1st / 2nd Assistant Director
Tom Allan
Runner/2nd
Yasmin Seddon
Runner
Daniel Linnik-Zhuravliov
Runner/Driver
Tereza Dvorak
Runner/Driver
Munzir Quraishy
Focus Puller
Rupert Hornstein
2nd Assistant Camera
Kitt Sullivan
Steadicam
Leo Bund
Stills Photographer
Jake Dypka
DIT
Mike McDuffie
Grip
Benjamin Thomas
Gaffer
Romaine Foster
Electrician
Josh Wood
Set Dresser
Andrius Vystartas
Set Dresser
Jessica Morris
Art Department Assistant
Emma Chitty
Stand-by Props
Tom Major
Art Dept Assistant
Ellie Koszak
Action Vehicle Driver
Mr Weedon
Costume Designer Assistant
Chloe Adele
Costume Designer Assistant
Bridget Phelan
Hair Make Up Assistant
Heather Pitchford
Hair Make Up Assistant
Ellie Lewis
Casting Assistant
Heather Basten
Casting Assistant
Ariane Mason
Locations Assistant
Heather O'Neil
Locations Assistant
Zoe & Michael Tootell
Researcher
Joel Maslin
Choir master
Caroline Venter
Cardiff Council
Emma Coulthard
Edit Producer
Marguerite Olivelle
Music Edit
Parallax Post
Music editors
Luke Lynch & Paul Rogers
Executive Post Producer
Tom Johnson
Flame
Ben Stonehouse
Nuke Lead
Bernardo Varela
Nuke
Ralph Brisco
Matte Painting
Lisa Ayla
CG
Mike Battcock, Ben Cantor, Federico Guzzardo
Sound mix
Factory Studios
Sound Design & mix
Jon Clarke
Audio Producer
Lou Allen
Cast
Sophie Cookson – Bronwyn, Morgan Watkins – Andre, Anton Saunders – Hew (Andre’s brother), Oliver Dimech – Younger Llewelyn, Harry Tayler – Younger Llewelyn , Ewan Hipperson – Older Llewelyn, Nick Sier – Miner, Robert Liddiard – Miner, Chris Morgan – Miner, Saskia Vaigncourt – Miners wife, Liza Ludbrook – Miners wife, Penelope Wildgoose – Miners wife, Sanna Kelly - Nun, Amy Evans – Nun 2, Basil Massy – Choir master, Harvey Sullivan, Rico Seddon-Davidson – School bullies, Levi Seddon-Davidson,
Birth imagery excerpt
Stan Brakhage, Window Water Baby Moving (1959, 16 mm, colour, silent, 12
Volcano stock footage
James Reynolds – Earth Uncut TV
Special Thank you
Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton, Thom Green, Shawn Lacy, Noam Murro.
Thank you
Bradford Young, Isabelle & Jon Albuquerque, Jessica Seret, James Allen, Mike Skrgatic, Lisette Nice, Hanna Bayatti, Samantha Chitty, Jeff & Deane @ Brownian Motion Pinewood, Craig & Hildegarde @ Prolight, Get Set Hire, Blaenavon Ironworks Staff, Sylvia & Team @ St Fagans Museum, South Wales Caving Club

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