Last night, in a car park near Cannes’ ultra-glam Palm Beach Casino, Kanye West unveiled his latest opulent undertaking: a short film/ long music video called Cruel Summer that unfolded over seven screens. With the action frequently taking place above and below audience members as well as in front, attendees (including West’s girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, who clutched his leg throughout the performance) had to keep head-swivelling in order to catch all the details.
Set to a thumping soundtrack — 30 seconds in, a chair-dancing West yelled, “Make it louder!” — the storyline kicks off with a cameo from the director as a Lamborghini thief, who’s pursued by police cars in a chase that lets you look up to see the tops of skyscrapers that the vehicles pass. Then the action shifts to the Middle East, where rapper Kid Cudi falls in love with a blind princess. The ensuing narrative, which takes in a mystical eagle, an Aziz Ansari cameo and a lot of angry Arabic men on horses, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the Tarsem-esque multi-screen visuals are ambitious and impressive.
Before heading to his blingy poolside afterparty with Kardashian and Jay-Z, West explained that Cruel Summer is no throwaway project. Instead, he intends it to change the world.
“I ain’t the best director in the world, but I had an idea that I thought would be amazing to inspire the people,” he said. “My dream is one day this would be the way all people make movies: Tarantino, horror movies, animation, 3D. People will go back because they’ve missed something on the left or the right. It’s more like the experience of life.”
West plans to take the installation around the world in the future. And that’s not all he’s got planned.
“I want to change what entertainment experiences are like,” he declared. “I want to work on cities. I want to work on amusement parks…”