French animator Virginie Kypriotis has created a video for new Foal’s track Like Lightening, which aims to inspire people to rise up and fight climate change. Following a yeti-like protagonist called George, the video presents his journey from outrage at news footage of the dying planet to his role starting a global movement. It launches today (22 November).
Set in a world of rampant consumerism, the film, which has been produced by Code, shows a city choked with exhaust fumes and social media-addicted inhabitants and references news stories from the past year. Breaking free from his cage, George begins to run across the city, starting a mass protest against ecological disaster.
“Climate change has always been treated as a charity cause,” Kypriotis tells It’s Nice That. “The message has always been the same, be nice, give money to an organisation, recycle and don’t use plastic bags and hope that things change, but I think that now people are getting smart about it and its becoming more and more alarming that a more angry message is necessary.”
“The song is quite angry and our idea was to invent something to embody that anger,” she continues. “What makes us angry is that now more than ever believing in Climate change defines peoples political identity, rather than something you just should just know and believe. This stupidness in the world was the main inspiration for the project. So rather than a message that is 100% sad we wanted it to be like a funny mirror on the world as we see it.”
Inspired in style by old cartoons like Betty Boop, the idea behind the running protagonist was borrowed from Forest Gump, where Tom Hanks’ character “runs for no reason and it inspires people to follow him,” says Kypriotis. “It’s kind of stupid because he is a martyr without really doing anything, but it makes things clicks in people’s heads and that’s that.”
Once the team had decided on the initial concept, Kypriotis wrote out a breakdown based on the song’s lyrics, and brainstormed some recent news stories that would work in the film. The level of detail is incredible, from an alternative take on a MAGA hat and the Trump Plastic Straws that were made for his 2020 campaign to images of the Amazon Rainforest burning. The animation process took more than two months, with Kypriotis nailing the camera movements in content-packed frames for the trickiest part of the project.
The release of the video coincides with a newly announced tour from Foals and with the launch of Music Declares Emergency, an NGO that aims to use music to raise awareness around climate change. “It’ll be nice if it inspires other artists to do more content that’s political,” says Kypriotis of what she hopes people get from the film. “If there’s a cause you feel strongly about, don’t wait to make art about it.”
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