Best known for his films ‘The Place Beyond The Pines,’ ‘Blue Valentine,’ and the HBO series “I Knot This Much Is True,’ Cianfrance realized a dream in directing a video for a band he’s loved since he was a teenager.
Since the triumphant release of The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny, Mr. Bungle’s return more than two decades in the making has proved a resounding success. The album managed to tally impressive spots on the charts including #1 on Current Hard Music, #2 on Independent Albums, #3 on Rock Albums, and #6 on Top Current Albums.
In fact, ‘Wrath’ is the first Mr. Bungle album to enter the Top 10 on any album chart. In terms of it’s international reach, the album secured #1 on Canada’s #1 Hard Music Chart (#7 Top Current Albums), #3 on the UK’s Rock & Metal Albums chart, and #6 on Australia’s Top Albums chart. All of this in addition to the band’s victory lap in their livestreaming event, “The Night They Came Home!”
Underscoring the band’s enduring influence and lasting impact, Mr. Bungle teamed with director Derek Cianfrance whose work includes The Place Beyond the Pines, the romantic abyss that is Blue Valentine, and the HBO series I Know This Much Is True, to craft the visual iteration of the band’s 8-minute epic, “Sudden Death.”
Cianfrance detail his sincere admiration for the band that began for him in his formative teenage years.
“If you lived in Lakewood, Colorado, during the early 1990s, there’s a slim chance you would have seen and heard a 16 -year-old boy driving slowly around town in a white, 1974 Mustang II, with his windows rolled down, disrupting the neighborhood by blaring the music of Mr. Bungle. That 16-year-old kid was me, and that music that I listened to, over and over and over again, set the bar for my life as an artist,” explained Cianfrance. “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… 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. I was also interested in meditating on the theme of desensitization in modern society, where citizens are gradually and systemically numbed to the possibility of cataclysmic consequences. 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. 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.”
Patton and Cianfrance first connected when the director tapped the musician to score his 2013 film, The Place Beyond the Pines. Mike recalls first meeting Derek and how that exchange lead the two to the present.
“When we first worked together, he told me he was a fan, and I didn’t believe him,” said Patton. “Years later, he told me he gravitated to the most difficult tunes on Bungle records (“Dead Goon,” “Merry Go Bye Bye,” “Goodbye Sober Day”) so him choosing “Sudden Death” for this iteration of Bungle actually made perfect sense. The least commercial and longest song? That’s where his ears and eyes go.”
Watch the Derek Cianfrance 80s-esque visual for Mr. Bungle’s “Sudden Death” below.