During a speech following the premiere of his short film, Cruel Summer, in Cannes, France, Kanye West stated:
“I’m not the best director in the world or anything like that, but I had an idea. I could dream of, one day, this being the way that people watch movies, in this form where it surrounds you, and people want to go back and see it more and more because they missed something else to the left and missed something else to the right, and it felt more like the experience of life.”
The rapper, designer, and now, director, unveiled his 30-minute experimental film at a splashy party Wednesday night at the Palm Beach Club during the Cannes Film Festival. Celebs in attendance included Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian, and Kid Cudi.
The film was inspired by West’s upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation of the same name and stars Kid Cudi as a car thief who falls in love with a blind Arabian princess. The film was projected onto seven screens inside a tented pyramid, which was designed to give viewers a fully immersed viewing experience. MTV stated:
“Seven screens alternately come on and off, sometimes showing different angles of one shot, other times acting as an extended wide screen, complete with a ceiling and floor. This means the audience looks around them at the images, instead of staring straight ahead.”
Cruel Summer has been described as an extended music video, meaning that it contains sparse dialogue and striking, slow-motion images set to a rocking soundtrack, much like Kanye’s 2010 online film, Runaway. Surprisingly, the project has been met with positive reactions so far.
Logan Hill, a senior editor at GQ, said:
“The music was the best part – big complex production, huge beats.”
The Hollywood Reporter noted that there were numerous audience members chair-dancing, Vulture praised Kanye for his “great visual sense,” and the LA Times stated:
“The story is secondary to the pyrotechnics, with new music from West and a thumping surround-sound quality that makes a 3-D Michael Bay effort feel like an iPad short.”
Cruel Summer stars Kid Cudi, Razane Jammal, Pusha T, Big Sean, Palestinian actor Ali Suliman, Aziz Ansari, and, of course, Mr. Kanye West himself. West hopes to have the film released in theaters in New York and Qatar, where the short was filmed, sometime in the near future.