Monarchy - 'The Beautiful Ones' (Directed by Maud Regnault & Thomas Blanchard)

“The Beautiful Ones” is indeed just that: Beautiful. The directors chose to conceptualize this gentle pop electronica song with a variety of visual techniques that result in an ethereal, mesmerizing, if confusing, experience.

The song opens on a bleak black-and-white landscape and then moves on to other monochrome settings (a forest, a beach) that are each decorated, as the viewer watches, with splotches of rich tint. Next, we are shown images of couples and individuals, each treated with an innovative photographic or technical effect. In one, a shirtless man’s image is divided into multi-sized grid pieces and each piece features a different closeup in movement. In another, a woman’s outline is filled with a cutout of clouds or, alternately, jellyfish.Two women’s heads are wrapped together in plastic kitchen wrap. Two red-haired women peer out at the viewer through a wall of fog and drizzle. Each image is compelling and leaves the viewer to wonder where the video is headed. The concept of paint is featured liberally in most of the shots, with the model interacting with it or with bursts of color appearing on the screen.

Other unusual images come through. The most bewildering, perhaps, is one in which, in a forest setting, a person’s head is replaced with a cutout of a triangle or square, with clouds passing through. A recurring shot is of an individual (usually a different each time) running across the landscape in the distance, as if to escape the color blasts.

There are also some familiar images. A man and woman kiss in a steam-filled room. Two similar-looking men dance in black and white. A lone bearded dancer shows off his moves to visual effects. At the end, the landscape scene returns, but instead of an individual running across, a man and a woman run to each other and embrace. So, the destination is love.

You get the sense that the video is intentionally perplexing. The directors show off their technical acuity in deconstructing images to form a new perspective. The colors used are rich and gorgeous and well serve the abstractions they portray.

"The Beautiful Ones" by Monarchy is an artistic commercial video.