School crucifixion music video shocks censors

A music video by French band Indochine, which features the staged crucifixion and shooting of a bullied schoolboy, has caused outrage in France. The country’s TV and radio regulator said on Thursday the "extremely violent” video should be censored.

French rock band Indochine have provoked an angry backlash with the graphic video for their new single ‘College Boy.’ It shows a bullied teenager being beaten, urinated on, crucified and shot in a schoolyard.

Regulators said on Thursday that the video was likely to face censorship in France.

“It shows images whose violence is immeasurable, and there's enough of this kind of violence already” Françoise Laborde, from the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel  (CSA) told Europe 1 radio.

“Death is not stylish. Violence is not stylish. Torture is not stylish,” Laborde added, describing herself as 'outraged.'

“Since it is extremely violent, it can’t be broadcast on satellite TV. At a minimum, it should be banned for anyone under 16 years of age, and maybe even 18,” she said.

The six-minute video for ‘College Boy’ features black-and-white, slow-motion scenes from the troubled school day and unhappy home life of a bullied teenage boy.

The video shows him having paper and a basketball thrown at his face, and moody, stylistic shots of him looking upset.

However, the second half quickly descends into a disturbing cycle of violence and torture at the hands of a group of schoolyard bullies.

The video shows graphic images of the boy being thrown down a set of stairs, punched and kicked, urinated on and then nailed to a cross wrapped in fairy lights before bring shot.

All the while, fellow pupils are shown capturing the scene on their mobile phones.

Despite such imagery, those responsible for the video reject suggestions it will lead to copycat incidents in real life.

“To say that this encourages violence is completely stupid,” the video’s Canadian director, Xavier Dolan, told French daily Le Parisien on Thursday.

“Is it really any more violent than the movies that are constantly appearing on our screens?” he added.

Dolan reacted angrily to the prospect of the video being banned during daytime hours on music channels in France, .

“That really bothers me. On these kind of channels you see situations that are racist, violent and degrading – particularly to women.

“So it seems absurd to me that this video should be censored,” he added.

While French regulators may be shocked by the video, Dolan and Indochine have received significant support from French users of social networks. Radio and TV host Emilie Mazoyer summed up the view of many Twitter users, saying:

“Some people find Indochine's music video 'violent.' Yes, it does turn your stomach for six minutes. But bullied students go through that 300 days a year. Imagine that.”

Judge for yourself by watching the video. Warning: The clip features content
that some viewers might find highly disturbing and offensive.

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8 of French duo Daft Punk’s most memorable moments

One of the era's defining dancefloor acts hung up their helmets on Monday, as French electronic music stars Daft Punk announced their retirement in a typically enigmatic fashion with a video showing one of them exploding in a desert.

8 of French duo Daft Punk's most memorable moments
Photo: AFP

From Da Funk in 1995 to Get Lucky in 2013, Daft Punk became the torch-bearers for French house music across the globe, winning six Grammy awards and pioneering the monumental sound-and-light shows that came to characterise the electronic dance movement (EDM) of recent years.

They did so while almost never revealing their faces — the ubiquitous helmets became another much-copied trope of EDM stars, but also afforded Thomas Bangalter, 46, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, 47, a freedom from the fame that quickly encircled them.

“We have daily lives that are a lot more normal than the lives of artists who have the same level of fame as us, but who might be attached to being physically recognised,” Bangalter said in a rare authorised documentary by the BBC in 2015.

Here are some of the highlights of their career – although for our money nothing will beat the French army band’s performance of a Daft Punk medley at the Bastille Day celebrations in 2017, in front of president Emmanuel Macron and a plainly bemused Donald Trump.

1. “Daft punky thrash”

Bangalter and Homem-Christo met at school in Paris before an inauspicious start in music with the rock band Darlin’, which also featured a future member of the French indie band Phoenix.

One review in the British music press dismissed the band as “daft punky thrash” — which struck a chord with them.

Reemerging as an electronic outfit, they met with instant success.

This interview from 1995 is one of the few images of their faces:

2. Their signature look in “Around the World”

Early singles “Da Funk” and “Around the World” became club fixtures, and led to massive sales for their debut album “Homework” in 1997.

It was in the video for “Around the World” that they first donned the helmets that would become their signature look. It mirrored the tight control they exercised over every part of their career, which included ownership of their master recordings.

3. “One More Time”

They followed up with the even more successful “Discovery” in 2001, which spawned the hits “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”.

There were some distinctively left-field choices in the years that followed, including producing the 2003 film “Interstella 5555” by Japanese anime master Leiji Matsumoto, which featured music from “Discovery”.

4. Human After All

While their next album in 2005, a more sombre “Human After All”, received mixed reviews, these were quickly forgotten amid the euphoria of their live shows over the next two years.

This included a headline appearance at US festival Coachella in 2006, performed inside a giant LED pyramid. EDM fans still speak about it with an almost religious reverence.

5. Tron soundtrack

In 2010, they released a soundtrack to the Disney reboot of Tron, which picked up a Grammy nomination.

6. “Random Access Memories”

But no one predicted the massive success of their last album, 2013’s “Random Access Memories”, for which they gave up their usual makeshift home rig for a full commercial studio– and used entirely live instruments.

The resulting work dominated album-of-the-year lists and helped lift their total worldwide sales to 12 million. It won four Grammies the following year including record of the year for “Get Lucky”, the millions-selling lead single featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.

Their appearance at the Grammy Awards show was their last public appearance for three years.

7. “I Feel It Coming”

They showed up one more time for the Grammy ceremony in 2017, alongside The Weeknd, after collaborating on the Canadian artist’s most recent album.

Despite the Twittersphere erupting in excitement last month amid rumours they would rejoin The Weeknd for the Super Bowl half-time show, that did not in the end materialise. 

8. “Epilogue”

The video titled “Epilogue” announcing their split used footage from their cult 2006 film “Electroma” in which one of the robots sets the auto-destruct of the other.

A cutaway then reads “1993-2021” with two robot hands making a circle around a sunset.

Their publicist, Kathryn Frazier, confirmed the news to AFP by email, without giving a reason for the split.