For the past few years, Bounce-Worthy artist Carolyn Malachi has captivated us with her mesmerizing vocal skills and socially conscious efforts. The Washington, DC native has never been one to think “inside of the box,” so she recently unveiled a clever way to ensure that her music stays on our minds with a short film entitled Runaway that creatively highlights four songs -- “Don’t,” “The Fence,” “Choose Me” and “Ready for the World” -- from her latest album, GOLD.
The film was written and directed by Milton Walker IV. He, along with William “Zoe” Fitzgerald and their Brooklyn-based production team Walking House, had previously created two engaging lyric videos for “Fall Winter Spring Summer” and “Finally” from GOLD. Afterwards, the team was so inspired by the album that they independently developed a creative concept for the film and brought the project to her doorstep.
The opening scenes offer glimpses of the remnants of a romantic evening for two. When we are finally introduced to the couple, played by Malachi and Stephen Hill, it almost feels as though we’re intruding. An intimate proposal is happening, but the beauty of the moment quickly fades as the woman’s hesitancy is written all over her face. As the man begins to realize that the evening isn’t going quite as planned, she turns and runs up the stairs, leaving him alone, ring still in hand. With the scent of rejection still lingering in the air, he numbingly cleans the dinner table and pours himself a drink. Meanwhile, she wrestles with her thoughts in the solitude of the bathroom. More than halfway through the film, not a word has been spoken. Yet, we are completely drawn into the unfolding storyline by the soundtrack and the powerful performances of the two co-stars. The on-screen chemistry of Ms. Malachi and Mr. Hill is undeniable. There’s an authenticity in their portrayal that makes you stop and consider how you would handle the situation. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the third co-star: The music. Each song acts as a narrator, chiming in at the right moment (courtesy of a strategically placed kitschy radio) to keep the story moving.
I won’t ruin the ending for you, but I will say this: In the wrong hands, this kind of subject matter could’ve easily devolved into a melodramatic cliché. Thankfully, under the direction of Walker, we are instead gifted with a nuanced visual perfect in its simplicity and restraint. This isn’t teen angst, it’s grown folks working out their issues in a loving and mature manner.
If you’re like me, you’ll be jonesing for a sequel while the credits are still rolling. In the meantime, the GOLD album is available for download on iTunes. For a more personal touch, you can obtain a CD personally signed by the artist herself via her website.