Director Dikayl Rimmasch Goes On the Run with Music’s Power Couple
Two American outlaws speed through the Californian desert in a dusty 1960s Pontiac GTO with a manifest poise and stylish swagger that could only be embodied by the world’s foremost musical couple: Beyoncé and Jay Z. Directed by the New York-based filmmaker and photographer Dikayl Rimmasch and soundtracked by an Ennio Morricone classic, Bang Bang is a trilogy of short films starring Mr and Mrs Carter that appeared throughout their two-and-a-half month long tour, On the Run, which celebrated its finale on Saturday at Stade de France in Paris. Rimmasch was introduced to Beyoncé and Jay Z via Mark Romanek, and with a creative cohort in the war photojournalist William Kaner put together a filmmaking approach and aesthetic inspired by French new wave cinema and the powerful intimacy of legendary independent director and mentor, Les Blank. Rimmasch’s stripped-back process paid dividends, allowing an incredibly fast, shoot-from-the-hip style using custom camera rigs that he had designed, 50-year-old Russian lenses and lighting effects by Archie Ciotti and Scott Spencer. Below, we’re in conversation with the steadfast director—also known for his black-and-white campaigns for RRL by Ralph Lauren—about Bang Bang’s conception and what it’s like to direct contemporary music’s most iconic performers.
What were you immediately looking to capture with these films?
Dikayl Rimmasch: What is it about when you watch Godard’s Breathless? What is it with French new wave that everyone responds to? It is a magical moment in cinema, and the whole point of it was to not be so encumbered by the production that Hollywood and France had adopted. It was a resistance to that machine. Jay’s a New Yorker. He came up through everything and I really trusted that he would get that. I went into the shoot with that mentality.
You shot at a breakneck speed over the course of only two days. What was that process like?
DR: Just before we started shooting on the first day, I was introduced to Beyoncé and Jay Z in their trailer. They didn’t really know what I was going to do, so I said, “I’m going to shoot for five minutes. Were going to process the footage, I’ll bring it back for you to look at it and that’s basically what the footage is going to look like.” We picked a very particular, beautiful moment with Beyoncé in the mirrors, we processed the footage in a couple minutes and brought it back, and she thought it was beautiful. Jay Z came out and we shot for five minutes, with him and the cigar, and did the same thing. I was shooting with these old Russian lenses, there was no monitor, there wasn’t anyone standing behind me and we started cranking along like that.
How did you capture the subtle humor and candidness?
DR: It was a thrill to photograph the scene with Beyoncé in the hotel room so intimately and get those moments. There’s this footage screened on On the Run from Jay Z’s 40th birthday party and home footage of Beyoncé traveling. That to me is still the most powerful stuff. At the end of the day they have all the human behavior that everyone else has.
How did you work the Bonnie and Clyde story in a new way?
DR: In my first conversation on the telephone with Jay Z he explained his concept of On the Run. He said: “We’re not trying to do this literally, it’s not that we’re Bonnie and Clyde. We’re on the run from everything. On the run from becoming a cliché. On the run from doing the same thing again.” Everything he mentioned was a level of consciousness he has for staying alive as an entertainer and as a human being. He wanted to keep it more abstract because for him it was very abstract. How do you stay new, not just to your audience but also yourself?
Did you see how the tour shows turned out?
DR: It was amazing what they did with the footage. Beyoncé’s creative director Ed Burke puts these shows together and he was really supportive of what I was doing and key in masterminding how this whole thing got executed. I knew what the chemistry had to be between myself and the two of them. But behind me were a few bulldozers pushing things. One was the production that was very well organized and the other was the tenacity of Ed Burke just saying, “Do it.”
What did you take away from the experience?
DR: Beyoncé and Jay Z are two very intelligent, insightful and thoughtful people, in an almost low-key way. Which is how they got to where they are. They are very aware of people’s attitudes and what energy they are bringing. Once you fully realize that, then the pressure comes off and you just have to do what you’re good at.
Check back tomorrow for Bang Bang Part Two. On The Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay Z premieres on HBO September 20 with an exhibition and screening at Clic Gallery New York on September 19.
Source : Nowness