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Milla is Divine--The Gentleman Who Fell

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Back when I first launched my website in 2014, I distinctly remember posting

The Gentleman Who Fell video to my correlating Facebook page.

It had all the elements for a compelling art post: aesthetically intriguing and beautiful, historic film references, haunting music, a stunning model.

From 1994's The Divine Comedy --the first studio album from actress, musician, artist and model Milla Jovovich-- it was the only music video produced from the album. I like the song a lot, and bought the album when it came out, which is something I rarely do. Rumor had it --confirmed-- that most of the songs on the album were written when Milla was only 16, and she was still a teenager when the album and video debuted. Maybe because of this the emotional expression of the album is, to my ears, authentic and real-- which is crucial for any art form and not often found. It speaks and I believe it.

The video is an homage to Maya Deren's short film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), which in turn was a personal avant-garde film inspired by the French surrealist films of the 1920's.

These films of course are fantastically weird and fascinating.

(Funny, but I once bought a Club-type chair upholstered with what I took to be a southwestern/American Indian symbol type pattern, only to find it nearly overwhelmed my small living room. It was a throne. But here at the 0:48 mark is the same chair. I felt much better about the purchase after I saw it in this video).

Album cover art by Ukrainian Artist Alexey Steele

(Alexey Steele: High Art Forever. Blog)

What I did not know was that this particular video was the second version shot for the track. The first was directed by Lisa Bonet, and featured the great character actor Harry Dean Stanton (whose obituary I posted on Facebook when he passed in September 2017).

Ms. Jovovich wasn't satisfied with it, and turned to directors Kae Garner and Paul Archard

--scant info on these two-- for this, the final version.

Interesting, though: Lisa Bonet was herself an ingenue of sorts at the time, and her film debut at the age of 18 in 1987's Angel Heart is in many ways a story similar to Dante's Divine Comedy --well, themes of traveling through heaven and hell, anyway-- from which Milla Jovovich takes her inspiration for this album. Starring Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro, the film is a true trip, and I like these themes. (My unproduced screenplay Marked runs along these lines, too, but that's another story). Anyway, Roger Ebert called the film " exuberant exercise in style". Well, so is The Gentleman Who Fell, in my opinion. And that's always a good thing.

(On a side note, The Alien Song, the second track from the album, is part of the soundtrack to Richard Linklater's film Dazed and Confused, in which Milla plays the character Michelle).

Lisa Bonet as "Epiphany" and Mickey Rourke as "Harry Angel" in Angel Heart:

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