Written by Jack Andrew Cribb
To accompany their most recent album Relaxer, alt-J have just released a music video for the last track of the project, Pleader. And it’s absolutely breathtaking.
The song was inspired by Richard Llewelyn’s 1939 novel How Green Was My Valley, which was later turned into a film, a film that has been preserved in the US National Film Registry for being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’, and Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1986 film, The Sacrifice. You could probably argue that alt-J’s contribution to this story can also be described as the same.
The video, directed by Isaiah Seret and starring Sophie Cookson and Morgan Watkins, details the troubles of a family in a small Welsh mining town, containing themes of familial love, loss, and environmental collapse. It’s a beautifully moving video to fit with a stunning song.
alt-J vocalist and guitarist Joe Newman stated on the video’s conception; “When we set out to make a video for ‘Pleader’, [I] 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.”
You can watch the new video for Pleader below.