This Video Taught Me Everything and Nothing. I Can’t Be Sure.

March 26, 2014 • Culture

I’ve been wanting to go to Poland for a long time. “Warsaw: Spring Break 2014” just has this unshakable ring to it. Yet despite its seemingly universal appeal—the siren’s call of the Eastern Bloc—I haven’t been able to get anyone over there with me. Everyone’s all, “Let’s go to St. Barths” or “Miami for the weekend, anyone?” and I’m standing here, alone, with a coach class ticket from LOT and tears welling in my eyes. Well, this latest music video from the Motherland featuring supermodel Anja Rubik isn’t likely going to sway any of my friends. Even though it should. Because it is amazing. Amazing in the way MS-DOS was amazing, in the way PAC-MAN was amazing, in the way all of those technological advances of my childhood I could reference right now and date myself horribly—Carmen Sandiego, MYST, a late-model ‘80s Motorola—are amazing.

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The video for “Chleb” is like a low-budg dreamscape, where all your two-dimensional Polish project fantasies come to life. Featuring creepy strawberry kids crawling out of trashcans and a living room not so different than the one I grew up in, “Chleb” follows the mental meanderings of some blonde chick wearing hoop earrings and a puffer vest as she falls in love with the local brain-dead twerp with the hookup on the bathtub gin. God, I miss being a teenager.

Things get weird after the strawberry kids hand her a stuffed animal out of the garbage can, which maybe brought her magical powers or got her stoned with some sort of organic rot-based chemical. After that, she finds her man—the aforementioned twerp—sitting on a park bench winking with his mouth permanently open, teeth forever exposed to the unforgiving wind.

And here’s where the parallel reality sets in. (Or is it a parallel parallel reality, since we’re already not in our current dimension?) Twerp turns into a bald, juiced up guido (they have those in Poland?) with kind eyes, wearing a chain necklace and holding a tiger (not real). Meanwhile, our lady protagonist has morphed into a white trash version of Anja Rubik, sporting some seriously garish makeup definitely not a la Pat McGrath. Their mating dance goes back and forth against respectively odd, rudimentary CGI backdrops (Anja gets Technicolor swirls while Guido gets sunsets and raining hearts). It’s like being at the mall and getting your glamour shot taken, only Polish.

As the shot-by-shot flirtation progresses, things getting weirder by the minute, I am overcome with the realization that there is someone for everyone out there in this life. Yes, even you. You the one with the horrible taste and the Adidas track pants. You, the guy on the subway with the long fingernails and the questionable grooming habits, the leather jacket made out of an old La-Z-Boy. Even you can find love. Somewhere out there, a tarted-up Anja Rubik waits, with her fur vest and her denim skirt and her lenient rules about cleanliness. One day the stars will align and you will meet, the both of you to live your beautiful lives in horrible clothes. Love is, thankfully, a blind idiot. And anyways, who am I to judge? I’m just a single girl with a one-way ticket to Warsaw.

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Alright, back to the vid.

Suddenly, some sort of local baker appears, but I can’t tell if the baker is baking drugs or baking bread because weird toxic bubbles start floating around his/her head. Nuclear waste, skull-and-bones, three-eyed happy faces. This shit is not seven-grain, that’s for sure. Anja Rubik starts galloping into the sunset with the baker and at this point I have no idea what’s going on. What I do know is that I will not be buying those khakis I wanted for spring. Guido now stands holding the Love Me Tender album in front of a backdrop that looks like the male equivalent of Lisa Frank, all glitter and cosmos.

Next, there’s some hand holding, some tiger petting, some sexy eating off of a candy charm bracelet. All leading, naturally, to the sudden death (or overdose?) of the baker. The plot (if there ever was one) gets increasingly confusing, as I think that the lady protagonist tries to convince her teen twerp to take over the baking business/ drug ops. But I take one look at this kid and “entrepreneur” is not the word that comes to mind. I suspect the venture will not end well. If we’re lucky, this video will have a sequel.

Three minutes in, all hell breaks loose. A kebab guy pulls rope out of his mouth, people fall out of wheelchairs, some dude appears with an ax. Then a priest comes out doing a dance that reminds me of the Lanvin Fall 2011 white-girls-can’t-dance campaign video. I think this whole low-income project facility has been taking the same drugs or something. Krokodil, probably. I don’t know. Or maybe this is how the Polish mourn the death of popular bakers.

The conversation between the protagonist and the twerp goes back to bread, as indicated by the CGI loafs and Anja Rubik’s dancing in a rain of flour, inhaling more carbs than she has probably had in the last ten years. But she works it all off when she goes off with the guido riding one of those dachshund wiener dogs through the Swiss Alps like this is a Kayne West video and not some weird, post-irony Internet acid trip from heaven… which it is.

See you all in Warsaw.

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