Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé ★★★★★

I make a little game of thinking about celebs outside the film industry in terms of how their skill set would translate to 5 major production jobs (e.g. Taylor Swift would be a good writer and editor, Obama would be a good actor, Michael Jordan would be a great producer and a famed director whose process was seen as deeply abusive years down the line.) Beyonce is the one person I can think of who would be smack dab in the center as showing qualities that prove she’d be really good at any of them. You can see her directing the film version of the show as she’s doing the show, you get to see her meticulousness and planning, the way she puts her foot on the scales, there’s even a genius way they organize the many camera types and costume changes and backstage moments so that you can’t fully tell which ones are staged reshoots without an audience, even though they’re somewhat clear if you watch intently.

I’m not gonna sit here and claim that it’s all her– she even has a co-director credited on IMDb– but it’s so clear that enough of it is her for her to truly deserve credit as elevating herself outside of the pop machine in order to create a machine of her own. I think so often about the discourse I witnessed in 2014 when Beck’s Morning Phase went against Beyoncé’s self-titled for Grammys, and people tried to discredit her work because Beck’s was a truly singular solo work, and she had many songwriters listed on the album. It’s a common (and boring and uninformed) take echoed about a lot of pop music, as if the number of people involved makes it less of a truly artistic and “real” thing, and makes the artist a hack and a brand more than an actual artist. I distinctly remember it pissing me off back then. This documentary almost feels like Beyoncé’s response to that; she spends so much time highlighting her influences and co-collaborators and explaining that it doesn’t just take a village but a straight-up zip code to pull this off. And then she reveals herself to be the mayor, and dares you to say anyone involved is not doing something truly incredible or elevated, just because they’re not doing it alone. She’s incredible. It’s all incredible.

100% genuinely believe that the editors should win the Oscar this year. Deadass. I’m deadass.

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