David Fincher’s MUSIC VIDEOS & COMMERCIALS (1996)

The proper film debut that should have come in 1992 finally arrived three years later when director David Fincher unleashed SE7EN upon an unsuspecting world. As he prepped his follow-up feature, 1997’s THE GAME, he found himself with very little time to indulge in the commercial and music video-making aspect of his career. In the intervening year of 1996, Fincher did manage to create two works in each realm. While fairly memorable in their own right, these two short works aren’t much in the way of a substantial challenge for Fincher, but serve rather as a way to keep his skills sharp in the time between features.


Fincher’s video for The Wallflowers’ track “6TH AVENUE HEARTBREAK” takes an interesting tack in that it is presented as a series of still photos that progress in such a rapid motion that it gives off a crude illusion of movement. The photos were taken in gorgeous black and white, and are framed against a white background that’s had some grungy elements like scruff and scrapes applied to it, giving it a texture that’s reminiscent of the opening credits of SE7EN. The conceit is another riff on the “moving prism” aesthetic that Fincher previously applied in his music videos for Bourgeois Tagg and Johnny Hates Jazz, but it’s also indicative of Fincher’s playfulness when it comes to what constitutes the boundaries of a given frame.


Fincher’s commercial for Levi’s called “THE CHASE” is a fairly conventional ad in the vein of high-energy advertising that was rampant in the 90’s. His signature dueling blue and orange color scheme makes a comeback, along with high contrast lighting and a grungy/industrial vibe. Notably, the spot credits Angus Wall as the editor, who would go on to become a key editor in Fincher’s later feature work.