by Christopher Stribley in New Music on Tuesday 21 August 2012

On August 7, Antony & the Johnsons released a new album of live orchestral versions of some of their best songs, featuring arrangements by Nico Muhly, Rob Moose, Maxim Moston and Antony. In addition to these splendid reworkings and a very interesting, humorous, and informative speech from Antony, is the achingly gorgeous title track, Cut the World. As beautiful as the song is, with Antony’s soaring vocals, the sweeping strings, and lilting brass, the video for the song is a magnificently disturbing work of art.

Starring the inescapably creepsy Willem Dafoe, the video, directed by Nabil Elderkin, depicts a scene of shocking violence in the corporate world. Game of Thrones’ Carice van Houten provides a chilling portrayal of an apparently disgruntled secretary. Marina Abramović makes a brief, but remarkable cameo near the end of the video, appearing as perhaps an instigator or conspirator. So shocking is the video that postings of it on YouTube have received expressions of outrage and condemnation from viewers who took it all too literally. Perhaps more people need to be familiarized with the concept of the willing suspension of disbelief. Then again, perhaps their disbelief was so well suspended that they fell for the film hook, line, and sinker. Whatever the case, well done Nabil Elderkin and crew.