Flip phones may have acquired a sort of retro cool in recent years, but it was still a little bit of a surprise to see Adele using one in the music video for 'Hello' — her first new song in three years. However, the video's director, 26-year-old Xavier Dolan, has a simple explanation: smartphones remind us too much of the real world.
"I never like filming modern phones or cars," Dolan tells the Los Angeles Times. "They're so implanted in our lives that when you see them in movies you're reminded you're in reality. If you see an iPhone or a Toyota in a movie, they're anti-narrative, they take you out of the story [...] It feels like I'm making a commercial."
It's a fair point, especially considering the amount of product placement in some big budget music videos. Plus, the video for 'Hello,' which was shot on a farm in Quebec and stars The Wire's Tristan Wilds as Adele's ex, is all about evoking a forgotten past. Adele starts the video by returning to an old house, opening curtains and pulling dust covers off furniture. It makes sense that she'd used a flip phone as well — it's symbolically consistent.
At least, that's what Dolan thinks. "It says she is stranded in nature, which has regained its rights," he explains. "It's an element of the past. It's much more important than the flip and trying to identify whether it's Samsung or an AE9 or whatever." He adds that when he heard the song, he imagined the story right away: "Just this idea of taking the phone and calling your past." And, indeed, having your phone be part of that past, too.
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