Director Mark Pellington’s Haunting, Healing Vision

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Though I’ve elsewhere posted this piece on my friend Mark “Iron Hoss” Pellington, I thought I’d place it on The Night Run—it certainly belongs here. Mark has supported, and endorsed, my work. This has opened doors for me, for which I remain grateful.

[Author’s Note: Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse, 8 February 2016]

The name Mark Pellington might not ring a bell, but you’ve probably seen a few of his emotionally charged films. I Melt With You, The Mothman Prophecies, Arlington Road, and television work on NBC’s Blindspot, CBS’s Cold Case, and others. Visually arresting, dark; rich with sensitivity and nuance. Pellington is best known as director of such iconic MTV videos as Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” U2’s “One,” and Alice in Chain’s “Rooster,” to name but a few. He is arguably solely responsible in music video for fusing the all-too-obvious with subtle, choke-your-heart imagery usually encountered via indie movies. In short, he has elevated the format from mere commodity into highest art, yet kept it universally entrancing and accessible. Pellington was the first music-video director to mix found (and personal) footage with bands rocking out, flash-cut with nearly subliminal images—gnarled trees, weeping faces, swooping skies. Emotional blips barely registered, but potent. A hauntedness rarely tolerated in our get-it-over-with-already “culture.”

Pellington’s style not only embraces that regrettable stance, but reinvests it with dream-like lucidity, terror and bliss. Swirling visions at the edge of perception, building to a real-world effect hard to forget. An uncompromising take on a society no longer comfortable with naked truths. No stranger to personal tragedy, Pellington urges us to wake up and pay attention to our common hope and darkness, our fractured humanity . . . however black the path leading there. His eerie, emotionally lacerating video with Chelsea Wolfe, “Feral Love,” exemplifies a singular vision that refuses to be slapped down—no matter what.

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Chelsea Wolfe video “Feral Love”: Mark Pellington, director

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