Maree Sheehan “Strength To Love”

1997-maree-sheehan-strength-to-love“Too many people come and they go”, sings Maree, and the video sets about showing this exact situation. “Strength To Love” is set in a motel, where we meet an variety of diverse guests.

In fact, the motel is doing pretty well, with 16 guests. There’s an attractive but very timid young couple, a very still Asian couple, loved-up newlyweds, a older married couple, a miserable tennis player, a crossdressing codger, a party girl and her friends, a aloha shirt wearing man and his glamorous ladyfriend, a businessman, a naked lady, a bad girl, a shaved/dreadlocked woman with a dog, a trio of leather-clad lesbians, three children, an elegant old lady, a revved-up gay couple, and three cleaning ladies. That’s 4.8 litres of milk – trim or regular.

But despite staying at this bustling motel, no one seems particularly happy. It doesn’t look like a particularly nice motel. It’s just a bit run down and under decorated. And who would spend their honeymoon at such a place? (Answer: a couple who is too busy rooting to notice the decor.)

The Strawpeople’s “Taller Than God” video used a similar concept, but it worked better. I’m guessing the Strawpeople had a bigger budget, and that video had some context for the motel and kept the number of guests much smaller. There was a sense that all the characters had a story.

Whereas with the Strength To Love Motor Inn, it’s just a big collection of people who seem to be deeply troubled by relationship problems. As a result it doesn’t serve the song well, overpowering Maree’s subdued vocals but never quite being interesting enough to work on its own. I’m guessing there’s a low budget here

Best bit: the brisk effeciency of the cleaners.

Director: Peter Bannan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… going for a drive.

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