The Work of Director Stéphane Sednaoui

The glossy, bright flash of video director Stéphane Sednaoui can be summed up by two vids that bookend his career: the career-making clip "Give It Away" for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the spinning, flashing U2 video for "Discotheque." In between he helped Alanis talk to her three other selves in the well-constructed video for "Ironic" and tried to carve a North American image for Tricky through a couple of dark (as in "under-lit") shorts. But of his contemporaries who've been featured in this Work of Directors series, Sednaoui is one of the least interesting. He's made some memorable images, like Garbage's early hit "Queer," but for the most part, he seems to struggle with the connection between image and sound; more than any director in the series so far, this is his weak spot. The Björk clip "Big Time Sensuality," in which she dances on the back of a flatbed truck driving through NYC — and which he recycles for a remix video of the same song — is clever and compelling but one wonders how much of that derives from Björk's infinite watchability? Left to his own devices (without other artists' influences), he creates a rather boring animation inspired by Björk's "Army of Me," and a horribly literal short based on Lou Reed's most overrated song, "Walk on the Wild Side," that's barely notable for Reed's own brief appearance. Björk provides the only interesting revelation out of a series of interviews — that she and Sednaoui dated, that "Possibly Maybe" was written about him, and that he directed the video after they'd separated. Makes you wonder if, absent artists as compelling as he works with, we'd be hearing about him at all? Plus: commentary, booklet, more. (Palm Pictures)