Everything Looks Bigger Closer (Short Film Review)
Christian Rich is an American-born Nigerian Grammy-nominated production and DJ duo consisting of twins Kehinde Hassan and Taiwo Hassan. This Chicago born due have had various impactful moments within the music industry, from their collaboration with artists such as drake on Nothing Was The Same to their production credits on albums such as Before the Internet by Childish Gambino and Born Sinner by J Cole. Christian Rich is a genre-blending duo that not only creates striking sonic experiences but also works on developing thought-provoking visuals that connect to their audience. Their latest release Everything Looks Bigger Closer is an electronic/house instrumental paired with a short film that merges cultures and sends a message to the viewer. The 4-minute long presentation directed by Axel Byrfors and produced by Eddy, Blur Films, and Pantera & Company is accompanied with a Chicago House and Berlin’s Berghain inspired Soundtrack EP is a considerable contrast from their previous release “SHIBUYA” with Jaden Smith, Vic Mensa, and Belly, heavily influenced by Anime.
'Every Thing Looks Bigger Closer' opens with a short scene of a mother and child named Yinka watching television together. Yinka's mother seems fully entrenched in the plot of the film, or tv show, whereas she looks dejected and uninterested, evident in her body language as she lays down with her phone in her hand. this short section of the film may be dissected into showcasing the difference in generations and what gains the attention of people in different age brackets. Yinka looks at her phone to scroll through the 'Richfeed' social media app where she sees a young girl named Dele dancing online, she initially rolls her eyes and scrolls past then stops at a photo of an iguana which catches her attention. She, therefore, abandons the TV show to enter her room and proceeds to emulate what she had just scrolled past online. Director Axel Byrfor may be sending a message of the influence that social media has on young people and how the urge to duplicate what we see on screen is such an attractive prospect. Christian Rich speak on their thoughts towards human relationship and social media by saying "We really think social media has connected us all in the most profound way but it also can create envy instantly, which we see initially in the film with Yinka being envious of Dele and her social media presence."
Yinka begins to dance to the music while playing table tennis, an important thing to recognise is that her dance moves are more reminiscent of Afrobeat music rather than the Chicago house song playing. the Afrobeat dance moves may be an ode to their heritage and the genre-blending artists that the duo are. speaking to Christian rich via email, they explain.
"We reside in Berlin and in our world it’s what we see; young, old, African, French, German, Turkish, all types of folks. It was very important for us to show how life looks from our viewpoint. It was also great casting by Eddy and our director Axel Byrfors."
Yinka then posts a video of herself dancing with the table tennis racket online, which Dele sees and then also emulates in her room. The visual begins to develop when they cross paths in real life and look at each other as enemies, this may be speaking to the discrepancy young people face with how they interact with people in real life versus how it may be online. Another key aspect of this visual is the symbolism of the creatures used in the visual. A duck and an iguana are referenced at multiple points as in one moment Yinka seems to be dreaming about an iguana.
Christian Rich explains the significance of this by saying "Ducks and Iguanas have spiritual significances. Ducks symbolize protection from negative energy and Iguanas can symbolize the importance of feeling fulfilled in life."
A middle ages Asian man which features throughout the visual approaches Dele with a duck in his possession as she practices table tennis in what seems to be her back yard. She senses his presence turns around and approaches him to see what he has in his hands. In the next scene, Yinka wakes up from her slumber to be met by a phonecall, she quickly gets ready and meets up with the middle-aged man and Dele. The man then proceeds to talk to her as though he is trying to settle their differences. In the next scene, he seems to be successful as they pair up and enter a peculiar location surrounded by grown men and a table for table tennis. They then enter into a doubles match with two men as they compete and dance to the music simultaneously. The Asian man sits behind them observing the match, with his legs crossed, as he pets his duck on his lap, possibly another symbol of protecting the girls from negative energy. The two girls seem to be having the time of their lives as their opponents look frustrated and angry, The scene ends with the camera passing through the room and ending at a picture frame of a duck.
Both girls then go their separate ways with Dele holding what seems to be a gild plated duck sculpture and Yinka holding the iguana she had previously been dreaming about. In the back seat with her is also a duck by her side, driven by the middle-aged man. This visual creates many questions and relies heavily on symbolism to gather the full picture with ease, however aside from the symbolic elements of the short film the visual is engaging and fluid with a smooth tempo to coincide with the Chicago house inspired instrumental. It tells a beautiful message of positive energy and finding a place of happiness while bringing many cultures and seemingly contrasting ideas together.
Christian Rich speaks on merging Afrobeats with House visually by saying this my saying "The juxtaposition of the style of dancing and House music plays on two elements in our lives. Being Nigerian but being born and raised in Chicago mostly. Nigeria is the capital of Afrobeat, whereas Chicago birthed House music. It’s the marriage of our two worlds."
Let us know what you think about the peculiar visual in the comments below!