The ABBA Videos of Lasse Hallström: Video Essay Written and Narrated by Jed Mayer and Edited by Nelson Carvajal

'Before MTV, music videos were a novelty. Elvis’ fifties musicals and Richard Lester’s films for the Beatles in the 1960s established many of the conventions of the genre. Swoony close ups, rhythmic jump cuts, and intimate, casual footage of the band goofing off captured the experience of listening to the music, and indulged the audience’s fantasy of hanging out with the group. Singers like Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood filmed television specials that ran like mini-movies, juxtaposing performance with narrative film-making, setting the singers against exotic landscapes, creating fantasy visions of the songs’ lyrics. Then along came [Lasse Hallström, a young Swedish director who would go on to make eccentric and touching comedies like My Life as a Dog, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and Chocolat and lighthearted 70s pop group] ABBA.'

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