When cinema meets music videos: Emma Stone in “Anna”

Written by: Alice Locatelli

After the advent of MTV in the 80s, music videos have experienced a process of industrialization during the last 30 years. Has argued by Vernallis, while in the eighties they were just a “laboratory” for directors, in the nineties music videos started to break the rules and to get closer to the post-classical cinema. In the 00s, music video directors have flourished in the industry thanks to “the new technologies and the new audiovisual relations” (Vernallis, 2013, 5).

Today, many music videos are high-budget productions, and famous directors and actors often take part to their creation. In the video of the song “Anna”, by Will Butler, Emma Stone stars as the protagonist, a young woman white dressed that convulsively dances on a ship. The video, directed by Brian Gutierrez, can be seen as a short movie inspired to one of the myths of the Queen Mary, the one of the “White Lady”, a woman that apparently appeared to several men, dancing over a non-existent music. The dance is choreographed by Ryan Heffington, famous for being the choreographer for music videos of Sigur Ros, Sia, and Florence and the Machine.


The style of the video reminds a Wes Anderson movie, with its bright colours and geometrical spaces, and the dance is perfectly coordinated in the scene. As often happen, music and lyrics offer good occasions to directors and choreographers to play with actors and settings, something that is not often approved on a set of a movie production. The potential freedom from the classical canons of narrative, allows directors to realize not simple music videos, but short movies dense of significance.



Vernallis, Carol (2013). Unruly Media. Youtube, music video and the new digital cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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