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“This film explores notions of institutionalized ritual, masculinity, and sacrifice, where human intimacy and the brutality of militarization blur”, says Jessy Moussallem, the director of Embrace, the new single by French producer and DJ Agoria. A strikingly beautiful but tough video dealing with violence and how young soldiers “are trained to kill, and at the same time, willing to sacrifice their lives”, she adds.

At the beginning of the video, one reads “We are the angels of this land and its demons”, referencing the eternal fight between good and evil within ourselves. Now that the world seems more doomed than ever, artists are reacting accordingly and creating artworks reflecting on how the present and future of humankind look like. “It’s always trickier to deliver positive messages than negative or cynical ones. The video is showing the training of soldiers, in their intimacy, facing their ego, their doubts. Most of all, it questions our own choices, our duplicity, the fears and the challenges of humanity”, explains Sébastien Devaud, aka Agoria.

With visual references like Claire Denis’ Beau Travail or the overall aesthetics of fellow French producers The Blaze, Embrace feels more like a short film than a music video. We can see the characters playing cards, relaxing around an empty pool, cleaning and preparing their guns, fighting, sleeping in the bus on their way to train more, and enjoying their last supper – the last frame being a reinterpretation of Da Vinci’s famous painting.

It’s actually strange to feel so relaxed and hypnotized by the music video’s atmosphere when it tackles such dreadful themes – although Phoebe Killdeer’s haunting voice really helps in that. “I only wanted Jessy to direct the video for Embrace. She is fabulous and the only who could film the right message of the song. Her ability to defend engaging topics with poetry always blows my mind”, says Agoria about his choice. And we couldn’t agree more, so we let you enjoy the video (and the song, of course).

Arnau Salvadó

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