The early years of David Fincher were, to watch this installment in the excellent Directors Series by the Raccord collective, very different from the later years, at least in content. The nearly-half-hour-long piece details how he got his start making music videos for the likes of Rick Springfield, Paula Abdul, and The Motels, even making a documentary about Springfield called The Beat of the Live Drum. We’re given a hint of the discomfiting approach to come in a short film Fincher made for the American Cancer Society in 1984 featuring a (cigarette-) smoking fetus, modeled after the Star Child from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Watch it: it’s truly disturbing.) We also learn about his travails with the maligned Alien 3, his first feature film. What’s happening here, with these early projects of Fincher’s, is what would be best called the finding of a form. Just as you might be able to tell a lot about a writer by reading his or her first book, we can see a lot of the later Fincher in his 1980s videos–the steely sheen that lies over everything, the sense of perfection, and the sense of pure mania that lies beneath that perfection. For anyone who wants to learn a little about artistic development, and in particular about Fincher’s development, this would be a good piece to watch.
Watch: David Fincher’s Early Film Work: A Video Essay