MrsMisanthropy and Other Fan Video Channels

Because I’ve had a number of people land on this site looking for what happened to MrsMisanthropy over on YouTube, I wanted to share that she’s back!  I have no idea what happened to cause her to shut down her channel initially but she’s been busy uploading all her old content over the last few weeks.  Here’s her new URL:

She’s also linked to two other accounts associated with her videos that may be serving as back-up in case she ever loses content on YouTube again.  Over on Vimeo, she’s Atrocity Exhibition (a suitably Oddbookian name to be sure) and she’s MrsMisanthropy on Google+.  Several people had found a Google+ account for “MrsMisanthropy” but there was not enough content to know if it was her or not (and again, no idea if MrsMisanthropy is really female but I think of her as a women and will until told otherwise).  Bookmark the other links in case she leaves again.  I will update my links to her videos sometime today.

While she was gone, I spent time looking for other fan video makers whose musical and cinematic tastes were interesting and I found several.  For now I feel I must share one specific video-maker and the films behind his fan videos because one of his videos triggered a month long endeavor that I feared was going to be a godless one.  I feared I would not be able to find the originals behind the clips used in Piperbrigadista’s fan video for “Synthetic Potion” by a band called Noir for Rachel.

As I was sifting through the videos on this channel, I was immediately drawn into this one because there is something about the woman’s face that makes me want to keep looking at her.  She appears as if she was confronting a voyeur, or maybe just a run of the mill Peeping Tom.  Her face is so serious and beautiful in a manner that reminds me of Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Lauren.  So I watched and listened and became entranced by the song and even more so by the video.

The song reminds me of what would happen if you crossed early Duran Duran with early Cure and made it all instrumental.  I loved the song “Synthetic Potion” so much that I did something I’ve never done before – I bought an album off Band Camp.  The album, entitled Witches, is a righteous purchase.

The video created a strange obsession in me to run to ground the movie these clips were taken from.  The scene beginning at 1:05, ending at 1:48, was incredibly compelling.  The woman was not confronting a voyeur, but if she was, the experience became something else entirely for her.  She sees this disheveled looking man standing outside the window of her home as she is wearing a dressing gown and underwear. After looking at him for a moment, she reveals her lingerie-clad body to him and waits for his reaction.

The woman in this scene conveys so much with her eyes, mouth and a simple tilt of her head.  Before she opens her dressing gown, she steels herself up.  She raises her chin and takes a small step back, never taking her eyes off the man.  She waits for his response.  Seconds pass, and you see a bit of trepidation pass over her face and she begins to list very slightly as she stands.  She takes another small step back and tilts her head in what looks the beginning of a shrug, an expression of disappointment and rejection.  Then before she completes the dismissal, he steps forward and she does too, leaning toward him.  Her expression only changes a bit but that bit is expansive in its depth.  Her lips show a minor, almost imperceptible sneer of power, her eyes focus on him with even more intensity as he touches the glass.  She’s received the reaction she wants and she wanted this reaction because she wants him at least as much as he may want her.

It was so compelling that I spent a month trying to find this film.  And I finally ran it to ground but only after hours spent searching.  Initially I researched every visual element of the film – the two women in the video, the features of the house, the style of clothing.  Reverse image searches never work on film stills but I didn’t let that stop me and of course image searches yielded no useful information.  Hours of insomnia spent Googling “blue dress,” “window lingerie voyeur,” variations on milk baths, “films with koi ponds,” and on and on.  I had two separate occasions where I was sure I had found something important.  A house with a similar set up made the NYT, for sale outside of Prague.  No dice – the brick work on one side showed it couldn’t have been the house the woman in her dressing gown was filmed inside and outside.  I later found another house in Finland that seemed to be the house but it too proved to be a miss.  There’s a fleeting moment in the window-voyeur scene where you can just see a subtitle at the bottom that was not cut out entirely.  I paused the video frame by frame until I got the phrase “have to leave this house now.”  Googled it and again no dice.

After weeks of searching every possible detail in the fan film, I decided to just search on “most popular actresses” from various places.  Because Piperbrigadista writes in Spanish, I first searched on every South and Central American country, followed by Spain. I could not find either woman. Because this film has a sort of incomprehensible Scandinavian feel to it, I searched Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.  No results.  I moved into Russia and Eastern Europe, spun through the UK and France, pored over Australia, all to no avail.

Then I searched Italy and found an IMDb list for “The 100 Most Beautiful Italian Actress.”  On all of these sorts of lists, many older actresses (think silent era) and less-well-known actresses don’t have a default photo on IMDb and I would do image searches on their names.  I must have searched on at least 500 separate names for actresses from various countries who had no photos.  But perseverance and a tiresome level of fanaticism found the answer.  Number nine on the list: Valeria Bilello.  Plugged her name into Google and there she was.

I checked out the movies she had been in and not a single one could have been the film used in “Synthetic Potion.”  I then searched her images on Google and scrolled and scrolled and then I found the woman in the blue dress who jumps on the bed and takes that milky bath.  I had thought that the actress in the blue dress who takes a bath was a different woman, but she too was played by Valerie Bilello. I clicked on that photo and it led me to Getty Images and I found the name of the photographer responsible for the image, a man named Can Evgin.  A search on “Can Evgin Valeria Bilello” led to his Facebook.  There he had the video featuring Valeria in the blue dress, a film called “Alice.”  I followed it over to YouTube and on the suggested videos I found the video for the woman confronting the voyeur.

These were not films, in the traditional sense.  These two films were short commercial videos for Giorgio and Emporio Armani.

First video:

Second video:

I can see now that Valeria Bilello played both roles but in the portions Piperbrigadista used of the woman in the blue dress Bilello looked more like Beatrice Dalle than the woman in the window.

I’m glad I found them but at the end I was disappointed.  As arty commercials go, they weren’t bad.  But both videos had a “manic pixie” neurotic feel to them.  In the window video, Valeria alternates between sulking in a manner that can be called broodingly beautiful, then skips merrily down steps at the house.  In “Alice” she whimsically leaves the man she loves waiting for her in a restaurant because she is troubled by some passing remarks he made over dinner.  She disappears, checks into a hotel, jumps on the bed, wakes up the next morning still in love with the boyfriend she left in the dust but still resolved never to see him again because, you know, beautiful girls are very deep and impetuous, but mostly nutty.

The scenes spliced together into “Synthetic Potion” have more gravitas.  Even when the actress is jumping on the bed, one feels her manic energy and assumes she is fleeing from something dire, since she runs down a hallway and tentatively enters a hallway outside an elevator.  Her jubilation as she jumps on the bed isn’t celebration for avoiding or escaping something terrible in “Alice.”  She’s just hopping on the bed because no one cast Zooey Deschanel for the film.  Bilello’s internal dialogue in both films is cringe-worthy, too.

I’m being hard on these two films because the originals came close to destroying the darkness of the video Piperbrigadista created.  That’s actually very interesting to me, how sometimes art inspired by another’s work can end up surpassing it.  The homage is better.

This occurred in another Piperbrigadista fan video for a song called “Chant” by a band called Sanne de Niege.

This was rather compelling, too.  The young girl in this video begins as a shy, adorable pixie at one with nature.  Then, as she is staring blankly ahead at the camera, blue butterflies float in front of her.  She never focuses on the butterflies, so steadily is she staring ahead.  It reminded me of all the analyses believers in hypnosis control present regarding butterflies in visual media representing mind control/Monarch Project experiments.  Because once the butterflies are gone, the shy, adorable pixie becomes a feral girl mimicking a stag, taunting the camera with pretty smiles as she charges forward in a menacing manner, makeshift horns on her head.  It’s like she received a trigger to bring her out of an innocent daze and she immediately begins to act differently.  She makes the viewer uncomfortable as she races and sneers.

This one was easy as hell to find.  I recognized the actress – Elle Fanning – and found the commercial video Piperbrigadista used to make this video.  It’s a perfume ad for a scent called “Lolita Lempicka.”

Piperbrigadista completely changed the tone of the ad from “pretty nature girl frolics with branches” to “strange pretty girl left in woods becomes feral almost on hypnotic cue.”

I hope others found this amusing because I love this sort of digging around online and then talking about it.  Let me know if you perceive the complete change in tone and meaning in these videos as I do.  So often fan videos select a film that echoes the nature of the song they are showcasing.  Demonic images for hellish songs, violent images for violent songs.  It’s not often one finds a fan film maker reinterpreting the meanings behind the videos they use.

So rejoice that MrsMisanthropy is back and check out Piperbrigadista’s YouTube and see what else he or she has to offer.

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