The director is best known for his 2010 drama Blue Valentine and 2013’s The Place Beyond the Pines. He brings striking visuals to what singer Mike Patton called “the least commercial and longest song” on Mr. Bungle’s new album, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo.
“That’s where his eyes and ears go,” Patton said of Cianfrance in a press release. The two became friends after working together on Pines, which was scored by Patton.
Cianfrance’s fandom of Mr. Bungle actually dates back to his teenage years when he would blare the band’s music out of his 1974 Mustang while cruising the streets of Lakewood, Colorado. He said that the band “set the bar” for his life as an artist.
“So, 30 years later, when I got a call from Mike Patton asking me to direct a music video for one of the songs on their new album, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, I questioned whether my life was really a dream,” Cianfrance said. “I informed Mike that I had never directed a music video before, but he wasn’t dissuaded. I listened to the album and asked if I could work with the song ‘Sudden Death’. It reminded me of the feelings of angst I carried throughout my youth while growing up in the shadow of a looming, forbidding thermonuclear war. I decided I could make a short film (well, not so short — the song is almost 8 min!) about these fears that haunted me.”
Cianfrance’s moody spectacle is as terrifying as it is beautiful, brimming with apocalyptic and dystopian vibes — themes of “desensitization in modern society, where citizens are gradually and systemically numbed to the possibility of cataclysmic consequences,” as he describes it.
Much like the Easter Bunny album, the clip looks like an unvarnished relic of thrash metal’s past, capturing a distinct ’80s aesthetic. It could’ve been a video for a Megadeth or Slayer song, which is exactly what Cianfrance was going for.
“Since the song was written in the mid-’80s, I determined that the video should feel like it was made during that time and imagined it as some sort of rediscovered relic,” continued Cianfrance. “Shooting during a global pandemic proved a fitting backdrop to the malaise of the song. It also presented a unique challenge as I was too nervous to work with actors — so I had to come up with another solution. Making this video with a small team of trusted collaborators, and working with my life-long heroes, was nothing short of a total dream come true.”
Watch the video for “Sudden Death” below. You can Mr. Bungle’s new album via Amazon.