Watch: Brando, Directed by Gisèle Vienne, Music by Scott Walker and Sunn O)))
Accompanying the first track of the anticipated collaboration, Soused, between avant-garde crooner Scott Walker and sludgy noisemeisters Sunn O))) is an arresting short film by French director and choreographer Gisèle Vienne. Walker’s music — with or without Sunn O))) — is the stuff of waking nightmares, and Vienne’s dream-like film matches it fuzzed-out chord by fuzzed-out chord. A house in the mountains, a blonde-tressed woman moving in slow-motion epilepsy; a teenage boy (her son?) locked in tremulous horror; a car crash?; and a sudden appearance by French novelist, theater artist and dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet… it’s eerie, disquieting, and, with its narrative elisions, entirely hypnotic.
Scott Walker spoke to The Quietus about the album, and here’s what he had to say about this song, “Brando,” and the “masochistic urge” he puts into the music and detects in the great actor’s work:
SW: Yes. I’ll talk a little bit about some of the songs but as you know I don’t want to go too far down that road because once you become too detailed about a song it ruins whatever it is that it has. But I can tell you a few things… I was watching One Eyed Jacks on television one night. And I know all of his films really well and I like them. But I thought to myself, ‘Hey, he must have it written into his contract that he has to get beaten up in the films he’s in.’ In One-Eyed Jacks he gets tied to a post and beaten by Karl Malden with a bullwhip. In The Chase he gets beaten to a pulp by the local town vigilantes. In Reflections In A Golden Eye, he gets repeatedly beaten across the face with a riding crop by Elizabeth Taylor. There’s On The Waterfront of course… In The Appaloosa as well. In The Wild One he gets beaten up by vigilantes. He must have had it written into his contract.
There’s an undeniably sado-masochistic, sexual element to this…
SW: Yeah. It’s a song of unfulfilled longing. A song of masochistic longing.