Short Film: Mr. Freeway
I’m putting this video up for a couple of reasons. One: I found it very funny, but not in an obvious way. The soundtrack is the classic song “Carmina Burana,” and frankly I never knew the name of the tune, but you know it when you hear it. This particular composition was put together by frequent Hughes collaborator Mark Hart and it’s sung by Clay Wilcox who performs it in Latin with an increasingly manic tone. It comes across as not being sung just to be funny, but Wilcox’s intense seriousness as he performs makes it humorous.
Two: Parts of the short took some real balls to film, I think. It’s called Mr. Freeway for a reason. Hughes is the star and for part of the film he runs down the middle of an L.A. freeway during a very real rush hour. Getting on a freeway in this town (I live in L.A.) in a car no less, you’re pretty much taking your life in your own hands every single time. To run on foot in the middle of the lanes with angry drivers on the left and right of you sounds like pure suicide. Not to mention the poor cameraman who has to keep ahead of Hughes. I couldn’t go to that shoot. I’d be too nervous.
Hughes has also put a whole bunch of his shorts online and I recommend checking them out. I particularly enjoyed his Life Collages (#1 and #2), in which the screen is divided up into four quadrants with a quartet of thematically linked silent videos. It did take me awhile to warm up to Grandma Opera, but I say stick with it because it’s ultimately really good. Finally there’s the cubist dance interpretation Them As Themselves.