Video Review

Buried Treasures Volume 1: Breakthrough Directors (1991)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Genre: Musical; With: The Buggles, William S. Burroughs and Tom Waits; Distributor: Island Visual Arts

Buried Treasures is one various-artists music-video compilation with a difference: It focuses not on the performers but on the video directors, prefacing little-known first or early works with comments by or about the filmmakers. But it's flawed by a dearth of insightful commentary and a constricted clip selection (all the artists are Island Records acts).

Sadly, the only two major music-video auteurs here, Russell Mulcahy and Jean-Baptiste Mondino, get shortchanged. Mulcahy, who pioneered the music-video form in the early '80s with such extravagant mini-movies as Duran Duran's ''Hungry Like the Wolf,'' is represented by the tacky Buggles clip ''Video Killed the Radio Star.'' Even worse, it's unaccompanied by any detail on Mulcahy's trailblazing career. The same goes for Mondino (Don Henley's ''Boys of Summer'') and his pixilated ''La Danse des Mots,'' which has the look of a student film.

One standout, however, is Chris Blum's eerily effective rendering of Tom Waits' ''Blow, Wind Blow'' as a creepshow Cabaret. And the one real ''buried treasure'' on this tape is by Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy): the brutally ironic indictment of American hypocrisy ''Thanksgiving Prayer,'' from Williams S. Burroughs' 1990 album of readings-with-music, Dead City Radio. B-

Originally posted Aug 09, 1991 Published in issue #78 Aug 09, 1991 Order article reprints