Last year, Canadian power-pop all-stars the New Pornographers released their Brill Bruisers album and made excellent, eyeball-grabbing videos for their songs “War On The East Coast” and “Dancehall Domine.” Their new clip for “Champions Of Red Wine” is a different sort of thing. It’s a character study about a middle-aged man, lost and drunk and horny and alone, staggering around Havana and getting himself in trouble. Directors Leblanc + Cudmore, who also did the “Dancehall Domine” clip, filmed the video on location in Cuba, and despite everything that happens to this one bum, the video will make you wish you were there. Watch the video and read some words about it from co-director Scott Cudmore.
Obviously there’s a debt to the Paris, Texas locale of peep shows here and that was sort of the jumping off point for the video. I had this idea of a rambling, drunk loner in a foreign environment – somebody who can’t really connect to anything except for on a very superficial level. All the interactions he has are forced, more like transactions than anything. It’s a portrait of this guy, a few hours, a couple of days, in his life as he flails wildly around – his only means of communication being physical. The video is a fragment of this character. We only know him in the moment, not where he comes from or where he is going.