Michael Kiwanuka Shares Intense Short Film For ‘Beautiful Life’

The visual is directed by Phillip Youmans.

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Michael Kiwanuka - Photo: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns
Michael Kiwanuka - Photo: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

Michael Kiwanuka has shared a gripping video for “Beautiful Life.” The video is directed by Phillip Youmans, best known for his Tribeca award-winning debut feature Burning Cane in 2019.

Speaking of the collaboration, Youmans detailed: “This story is a cautionary tale about our nation’s easy access to, and fascination with, guns. We follow teenagers playing Russian roulette with a parent’s revolver. As each player holds the gun up to their temple, their lives flash before their eyes. When we die, our bodies release DMT; as the chemical fills our bloodstream, it’s said that a person experiences their life flashing before their eyes. So close to their possible death, I wanted to explore these characters through their memories. With each pull of the trigger, the chance of death rises and each player deals with varying levels of fear.

Michael Kiwanuka - Beautiful Life

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“Overconfidence and recklessness underline the core themes of this film: life is beautiful and precious, and conformity and exhibitionism can be deadly. Though they’re fearful, they pull the trigger anyway, bowing to the pressure of the moment.”

Shot on 16mm, Yeomans takes a raw and immersive approach to create bold, dynamic, and claustrophobic scenes, while the kinetic camera during each flashback brings a nostalgic and alive feel. Youmans entwines his craft and the power of the track into a matter of life and death, celebrating the real strength in human spirit.

“Beautiful Life,” released earlier this year, featured on the Netflix documentary Convergence: Courage In A Crisis, directed by the Oscar-winning director Orlando von Einsiedel.

The song itself is classic Michael Kiwanuka; all otherworldly sounds, psychedelic hues, and that rich, mellifluous vocal.

Kiwanuka reflected on the track during its initial release, saying, “In this song I wanted to focus on the feeling that there’s a real strength in the human spirit when you try to look for beauty even in difficult situations. Of course, in some situations that becomes more and more difficult. But I just wanted to ponder on that and wonder what life would be like if I lived it like that.”

Buy or stream “Beautiful Life.”

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