The Wall: From music film to music video, and back to music film.

In 1983, the music video of Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released and has been thought to be the milestone of modern music video. Months earlier in Britain, The Wall, a music film directed by Alan Parker and based on Pink Floyd’s eleventh album of the same name, was on.


It’s a live-action/animated musical drama film with animated parts created by Gerald Scarfe. The film is of 95 minutes and has a completed plot, but each section divided by songs also could be seemed as a nice single music video. In addition, what makes it not so “music film” is that, there aren’t much dialogue in it, but mostly driven by songs from the album The Wall. However, different from any other music video or music film, the creation of the film doesn’t seem to be used as a toy for marketing, but a way to express and outlet the feelings of Roger Waters himself. Though the film did gain $22.2 million of box office while the budget was $12 million.

If divide the film into several parts by songs, it could totally be the music video of each songs.

The film was on in the theatres at that time, but as the it has become the time of internet, most of the music videos are released on internet but not television or DVD. But it seems that the form of music video is transforming back to the theatre. There are more artists who would love to create their music videos with complete plot, sometimes even have dialogues and diegetic sounds. For instance, in the 2015-released album Blue Neighbourhood by Troye Sivan, the music videos of Wild, Fools, and Talk me down tell a complete story of two same-sex lovers. There are also dialogues and diegetic sounds in them. Though they are separated, if they are edited together, it’s form could be quite similar to that of The Wall.

Written by Liang Cao



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