Kanye West's experimental short film, "Cruel Summer," celebrated its premiere during a fancy party Wednesday night during the Cannes Film Festival. The visual piece was projected onto seven screens inside a tented pyramid, designed to give viewers a fully immersive experience. Accordingly, plot details have invaded the interwebs. Hence, Cruel Summer stars G.O.O.D. Music artist KiD CuDi as a car thief who falls for a blind Arabian princess. The 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. Consequently, the audience looks around them at the images, instead of staring straight ahead, which is supposed to reflect real life according to Kanye himself.
"It related to a post-Steve Jobs, post-Windows era, where we're always on our BlackBerry in a ball game or at the movies," West said. "I was very particular about having the screens separate, where your mind puts the screens back together, the way you put memories together. I'm not the best director in the world, but I had an idea that I thought would be amazing to inspire people, like a dream of one day this being the way people watch movies. You know, [Quentin] Tarantino doing a movie like this or a horror movie like this, animation, 3-D ... in this form that surrounds you. People want to go back and see it more and more because they missed something to their left or to their right, and it feels more like the experience of life."
Similar to Kanye's 2010 first movie project Runaway, the short film plays like an extended music video, without much dialogue and striking slow-motion images set to a vibrant soundtrack. The music comes courtesy of various G.O.O.D. artists, many of whom make cameos in the film, including comedian Aziz Ansari. Co-directed by Alexandre Moors, the script was based on a screenplay by Elon Rutberg, and it was shot entirely in Qatar in the Middle East.
"We were literally shooting in Qatar less than a month ago," West said. "It was the most impossible feat, all odds were against us having this moment, showing this at Cannes. The reason why I went so hard is that this is my goal. What I want to do post-Grammys is I want to change entertainment experiences. Like if [late fashion designer Alexander] McQueen or [director] Tarsem [Singh] was to meet the entertainment value of Cirque du Soleil or Walt Disney. We're going to bring it to New York to Qatar and re-edit it ... so you guys are seeing the rough draft of this concept."