But your blade it might be too sharp
January 11, 2015 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Singer/songwriter Sia's dancer mini-me, Maddie Ziegler, and actor Shia LaBeouf put on a captivating (and to some controversial) performance in the video Elastic Heart
posted by Brandon Blatcher (56 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would hate this video so much less if it had a real dancer in it and not Shia LaBeouf. He stains everything he touches. Maddi Ziegler is delightful, though, and I love that Sia is bringing modern dance to popular audiences through these videos.
posted by Sara C. at 7:58 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't care for LaBeouf either, but I thought it was a nice, sort of "meta" touch that you can view this as being about two dueling segments of Sia's own psyche, and "Shia" basically equates to "Sia."
posted by tyllwin at 8:37 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I stayed away from this video initially because of Shee-ah le beef. I actually just watched it, on a recommendation - about 10 minutes ago - and it is a phenomenal.

It's intense, deep, uncomfortable, and somehow le beef doesn't fuck it up. I am currently sorting through my emotions on this video, and there are a lot of them. At the very least, I recommend it.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 8:38 PM on January 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


Really, Sara C? I thought it was interesting and having Shia in it instead of a dancer added a twist. Just because he's Shia doesn't mean that everything he does is dreck, although he does have a lot of previous history to work against.
posted by ashbury at 8:38 PM on January 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Shia, you can totally fit through those bars you're not that buff
posted by benzenedream at 8:40 PM on January 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


I hope they got a good deal on One Direction's old birdcage.
posted by wreckingball at 8:50 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I finally saw the thing the other day and I'm half-convinced that the only reason people see "pedophilia" and not one of a dozen other things in the video is because it's LaBeouf and not some anonymous guy dancer who we don't already have a bunch of negative mental associations with. It's not the way he's interacting with Ziegler, it's his public baggage. He seems creepy and desperate now because everybody kind of sees how much of his earlier career was based on his ability to bullshit people rather than any noticeable talent.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:54 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Say what you will about him, but he was amazing in Nymphomaniac.
posted by codacorolla at 8:58 PM on January 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Chandelier in case you missed it.
posted by phaedon at 9:02 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


An error occurred during metafilter.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:15 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


he was amazing in Nymphomaniac.

Huh. I had 100% the opposite reaction -- I found his complete inability to maintain whatever accent he was striving for kind of jarringly hilarious. Then again, who knows, maybe von Trier told him to do that.

I will say that his attempts to make people forget about the whole plagiarism thing while simultaneously reminding them of it has been very... modern, and interesting to watch.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:17 PM on January 11, 2015




The funny thing is that it is actually clearly the precise point in Shia LaBeouf's career for him to be doing a crazy monster cage dance in a music video with a 12 year old girl.
posted by nanojath at 9:22 PM on January 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


So, some people, especially people who never feel like their life quite has a certain quality that they value, give themselves rituals to go through and after each ritual they check too see if they've gained the quality because it never feels quite like they have. I guess eventually they realize that it's the whole slow series of rituals that eventually endows the quality and that before and after each ritual there's not much of a change. I usually think it is a little embarrassing to watch someone go through that, but I guess if they're being sincere and it's what they want to present publicly, that's their choice. It just seems really unnecessarily personal, and a little overdramatic.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 9:28 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think both this and Chandelier are very good videos. Chandelier dealt with personal struggles and this one is obviously about relationship struggles...and how your own personal struggles effect those you relate with.
posted by Emor at 9:43 PM on January 11, 2015


Like Chandelier, this was choreographed by the awesome Ryan Heffington. He teaches at the Sweat Spot in Silver Lake, for those of you who want to get in touch with your inner Maddie Ziegler.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:46 PM on January 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Today, thanks to GQ, I learned the word "tatterdemalion".
posted by blueberry at 9:50 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Someone watching this and thinking it supports pedophilia (or is even about a romantic relationship) says more about them than it does the video.
posted by incessant at 9:57 PM on January 11, 2015 [22 favorites]


He removed his own tooth to get the part in Fury. It sort of looks like he is wearing a diaper here.

I mean, that's commitment, to the point where I'm a little worried about him.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:01 PM on January 11, 2015


this one is obviously about relationship struggles...and how your own personal struggles effect those you relate with.

Sia mentions on twitter that the video focuses on "two warring 'sia' self states." Maddie and Shia are both Sia.
posted by mochapickle at 10:09 PM on January 11, 2015


Shia, you can totally fit through those bars you're not that buff

he's pretty buff
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:37 PM on January 11, 2015


I thought the video was amazing. Maddie Ziegler is a tremendous performer, and her youth means she can make this performance seem artless and feral in a really believable way. I did my best to watch without any preconceptions about Shia LeBeouf, and found myself genuinely affected by his performance. It works for me that he's not a dancer, it makes the contrast between the two different selves Ziegler and LeBeouf represent really work.

And wow, that last 30 seconds or so that was in silence? That hit me pretty hard, actually. I'll have to sit with this one for a bit, because there's something I can't quite put my finger on about the way she slipped through the cage's bars and struggled to try to pull him out, that was just--I don't know, that was tough and beautiful to watch.
posted by yasaman at 10:45 PM on January 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


This reminds me so much of Maurice Sendak. Love it.
posted by phaedon at 11:02 PM on January 11, 2015


It says much about you what you take from a piece like this. If you see pedophilia, I'm sorry for you. Stop watching so much bad TV.

I saw father/daughter, perhaps brother/sister, or a man aching to connect with the spirit of something lost. And, oh yeah, it's a good song, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:05 PM on January 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Shia, you can totally fit through those bars you're not that buff

he's pretty buff


I'm not sure what I think about Shia - though I haven't tried really hard to figure him out - but yeah, that dude is pretty fucking buff. And kind of damaged, too, but I like that the damage shows.

The video was really discordant to me, too. I kept thinking how great the piece would have been with a professional male dancer instead of Shia, but then I wondered if it would have then had the same impact. There was something off about the whole video, and I'm going to have to watch it again (for the fourth time) ... which I might not be doing if the video were perfect.
posted by kanewai at 11:17 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Melissa Atkins Wardy rebuts the criticisms. (Wardy is author of the 2014 book Redefining Girly.) I had ignored the video, even though I'm a fan of Sia's previous work, until I read this.
posted by dhartung at 11:19 PM on January 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Just sayin.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:23 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


That was great. We're saturated with images all day long and it takes something special to stick in your mind. The young girl is incredible and Shia appears inspired by it.
posted by colie at 12:00 AM on January 12, 2015


Once when I was baffled by a similar "controversy," an American colleague explained it to me by simply stating: "Americans are convinced everyone wants to have sex with their children."

Now every time there is a "ZOMG pedophilia!11" outrage, I think, "Why would someone even think... oooh yeah."
posted by retrograde at 12:01 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've read a few more of the links posted in the discussion, and ... just ... Maddie Ziegler is only twelve years old??? I'm in awe. I watched the video without knowing who she was, and I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that a child can express herself like that through dance.
posted by kanewai at 12:36 AM on January 12, 2015


I would hate this video so much less if it had a real dancer in it and not Shia LaBeouf. He stains everything he touches.

He's weird, and in addition to that he tries way too hard to make sure everyone knows just how weird he is (and he really is a really, really weird guy), and that's where I think much of the irritation comes from. That and Transformers.
The Transformers movies have almost certainly set him up for life, financially speaking, so he can sort of do whatever the hell he wants, like dance around in Sia videos.

I think he's a good, if not great, actor. More of a performance artist than actor, really. He's young, so I foresee another decade of him doing batshit crazy things and when he's about 40 he'll settle down into a more accessible mode. Maybe he'll be the lead in some popular TV or movie series.
posted by zardoz at 12:46 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


She's a great dancer.
He's a testament to his personal trainer's work ethic.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 AM on January 12, 2015


All I can say is that this video and the one for Chandlier were mesmerizingly beautiful. The choice of Shia LaBeouf is inspired, adding a different twist on things if you're aware of his recent troubles. Would love to see more of this type of thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:45 AM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Huh! As a registered Shia hater I actually thought this was pretty great. He now has my permission to become Mickey Rourke, or whatever is happening with him.

Also I learned today that being a pedophile apparently means "interacting in any meaningful way with a child" so that's useful information, I guess.
posted by selfnoise at 3:46 AM on January 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


This whole 'controversy' is really disrespectful to Maddie Ziegler as an artist. Her critics are telling her that her body has one (sexual) purpose and one purpose only. I also kind of annoyed when she was made to wear purple shorts for her live performance on Ellen; gotta make sure she doesn't appear naked!

Gripes aside, I think she and Shia do phenomenal job in this video.
posted by Partario at 3:56 AM on January 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


Be a tatterdemalion witch-foundling who dwells 'neath the thicket.

Hello new life mantra.
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 AM on January 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


> I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that a child can express herself like that through dance.

I don't know much about dancing, or kids, but when I see my nieces and nephews (all of whom are younger than 8) dance they're expressing themselves a lot more uninhibitedly and unselfconsciously than most adults (myself included, unless I've had a lot of beer) ever could.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:13 AM on January 12, 2015


I started to get back on board with Shia LaBeouf with Fury and now this video has sealed the deal. I don't really care what asinine things he's done outside of a filmic medium, he can act and he's a fearless performer. As for Maddie, I hope Sia works with her a few more times.

He now has my permission to become Mickey Rourke, or whatever is happening with him.

This cracked me up.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:22 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


People saw that video and thought pedophilia?

I guess I'm too literal - I thought maybe it was going to be a story about some mad scientist or aliens imprisoning a man and a woman in a cage or something Twilight Zone-ish like that. I was kind've disappointed that it wasn't. Arguably, I tend to look for narrative in all the wrong places.

From what little I pay attention to Shia Labeouf, it seems like of late he's making a sincere effort to move past the mistakes of his childhood / early career. I can't help but think well of anyone who does that.
posted by doctor tough love at 8:58 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Man, I totally read that as father/daughter or maybe mentor/student. It probably says more about me than it does about the video, but I thought that last bit was beautifully done and utterly devastating.

Great video.
posted by thivaia at 9:42 AM on January 12, 2015


After rewatching it, I read it as mania vs depression.
posted by yasaman at 10:43 AM on January 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


He's weird, and in addition to that he tries way too hard to make sure everyone knows just how weird he is (and he really is a really, really weird guy)

You know, I actually think Shia LaBouef is not weird at all, and his publicist just told him Enigmatic Artsy Guy was a good way to distinguish himself in the field of Young Leading Men.

Because the main reason I hate him is that I know from weird artsy shit.
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 AM on January 12, 2015


I actually think Shia LaBouef is not weird at all, and his publicist just told him Enigmatic Artsy Guy was a good way to distinguish himself in the field of Young Leading Men.

I imagine he's weird in the same way that Lady Gaga is weird: pretty normal overall, but talented enough to have earned success in their respective media very quickly and be able to leverage that into the freedom to indulge their sloppier ideas about art in public. Some of it sticks, most of it doesn't, but they're more interested in the feedback than in maintaining a "canon" of high quality.
posted by psoas at 10:52 AM on January 12, 2015


Shia LaBoeuf isn't even Lady Gaga level weird.
posted by Sara C. at 11:03 AM on January 12, 2015


He isn't Lady Gaga level successful either.
posted by VTX at 11:09 AM on January 12, 2015


Crispin Glover really is that weird. Shia is perhaps at 1.2 microglovers.
posted by benzenedream at 12:19 PM on January 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


A great video featuring two artists being great for different reasons.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:20 PM on January 12, 2015


I don't understand how you can presume to opine he isn't weird, given the history we have seen.

1. He ripped out his own tooth to help get the part in fury.

2. Attempts to apologize for plaigirism by doing apology installment where he sat in a room with a bag on his head and let people do whatever they wanted to him, including apparently one woman molesting him.

3. Appears around town and for interviews with a bag on his head, saying he isn't famous anymore.

In my book, this is most likely genuine weirdness, and frankly even if he is attempting to adopt a weird persona to be edgy (which I don't believe), the stuff he is thinking up to adopt puts him in genuine strange territory, to me.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:28 PM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh come on, everyone has an Uncle Bob or Aunt Sarah that does similar antics. Call me when Shia appears as cross dressing Furry, working in retail, then we'll talk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:49 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I found this video to be absolutely disturbing and compelling. One of the most uniquely artistic things I've seen in quite some time - daring and unflinching. I thought the casting of Shia LeBoeuf was inspired -- he represents a sort of celebrity-in-disrepair, not merely masculine, but damaged and problematic. I immediately thought of the union of anima and animus, of integrating one's shadow self.

My initial reaction was that it would be silly and unfair to read pedophilia into the video. Then I spoke to somebody who had a strong negative reaction to the video because she had been molested as a child and therefore was admittedly sensitive to things that remind her of that sort of dynamic. So I'd suggest that, whatever our opinion of the video, we try not to be too critical of those who were upset by it.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:57 PM on January 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


The only thing I think of when I see young Maddie is how much fun it would be to have her show up at a party incognito and just bust out with the dance in the middle of a tune.

Then I think I hate her and her fully functioning joints.

Then I wonder how they keep the wig on.
posted by Samizdata at 1:07 PM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I didn't see anything sexual about it. Perhaps it's my own perspective after watching my sisters dance recitals for 20 or so years but I like to think I'm good at this kind of thing.

I read it more as a narrative about battling your personal demons/monsters and knowing that even if they are caged, they are still there inside of you waiting for you to slip up.
posted by Megafly at 5:08 PM on January 12, 2015


I can see it being triggering on a certain level to someone who is a survivor of child sexual abuse. But I don't think that's something that needs apology from Sia, and nor do I think it's really an important aspect of the piece.
posted by Sara C. at 6:05 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]



Mario Wienerroither of the DIGITALOFEN audiobakery recently stripped all the music out of the music video for Sia‘s song “Elastic Heart” featuring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler. Wienerroither then dubbed over the music video with all sorts of crazy sounds and voices.

It's pretty damn terrifying and strange.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:19 AM on January 13, 2015


At the very least, we can take solace that Shia didn't try to brutally murder Maddie in the woods.
posted by notpace at 7:04 PM on January 13, 2015


union of anima and animus, of integrating one's shadow self

I put off watching this for several per-conceived reasons, but this post convinced me to give it a shot. I wanted to react for myself without hearing the criticism.

I saw the performers as two yin/yang aspects of one being attempting to reconnect across a gulf, only to succumb to failure and resignation at the impossibility.

(Evidently, this is the artist's intended meaning, since Sia called the characters "two warring 'sia' self states".)

Ironically, I also see the "pedophile critics" represented by Shia's dead-eyed stare at the end of the piece - unable to reconnect to the childlike ferocious joy of their own lost innocence.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:23 AM on January 14, 2015


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