This is not your regular music video – it’s a six-minute, miniature epic inspired by “Pleader,” the closing cut on alt-J‘s album Relaxer.
The song itself is inspired by Richard Llewelyn’s book How Green Was My Valley, a story set in 19th century Wales in a small mining town, in part about a family that hopes its youngest son will find a better life. The song by alt-J is grand, too, recorded in a cathedral with an organ, a boys choir (alt-J keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton was a member of this choir as a child) and the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
alt-J say “When we set out to make a video for ‘Pleader’, we sent the following one-line brief to director, Isaiah Seret: ‘A Welsh mining love story; A tidal wave of earth.’ What Isaiah came back with was an epic short-film inspired both by the song’s source material and Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice. A family must pit their desire to have a child against the knowledge that this would destroy their community. The hypnotic, hymnal quality of the song binds the video throughout, hinting at redemption while destruction takes place.”