Death Dance: Hiro Murai

A Playful Treatment of Death in Flying Lotus’s Never Catch Me Video

‘I guess you can call it a narrative video but I’m not really sure,’ LA based filmmaker, Hiro Murai told us of his distinctive style. ‘I think it’s generally tone driven and a lot of times surrealist.’

‘Surreal’ perfectly describes his video for flying Lotus’s Never Catch Me; following two children as they emerge from coffins at their own funeral service, and dance their way out of the building. It was filmed over two days at a church in Koreatown and a funeral home in Inglewood.
We asked Hiro for some behind the scenes info:

The Plus: The children gave a great performance. What was it like directing them?
Hiro Murai: They were amazing. Not only incredibly talented but hardworking and just a great energy to have on set. I didn’t have to do much.

TP: It’s such a weird and engaging narrative. Were there any particular inspirations for it?
HM: The seed of the idea came from Steve (Flying Lotus) himself. He wanted to do something about a black boy late to his own funeral. I liked the playful treatment of death, so we expanded it from there into a choreographed piece between two kids.
TP: How did the collaboration with Flying Lotus come about, and what was it like working with him?
HM: We met when he appeared in a short film I made with Childish Gambino about a year and a half ago. We’d been in contact since then. It was great. He’s very specific and has very high standards for videos, but he’s also very trusting and gave me plenty of room to experiment.

TP: Was there anything particularly difficult to carry out in this project? 

HM: There were a lot of difficulties because of the time constraint, but the main one was just finding the right kids for the choreography. The kids not only had to look and act the part but be able to pick up choreography really fast. There was only one three-hour rehearsal before filming so there was a lot riding on the kids.