Hearing Sharon Van Etten's cooled-out, R&B-inflected single "Taking Chances," one could easily picture its video sporting icy, hazily dramatic visuals that underscore the song's innate emotional depth. Well, that's not the case. The Brooklyn singer-songwriter instead went with a colorful, creepy, tarot card-filled clip inspired by Greek-French film director Agnes Varda.
And in a case of reality mirroring fiction, it turns out that director Michael Palmieri and Van Etten had similar, psychic-inspired visions when it came to the video and album. To sum it up, Palmieri pitched an idea based on Varda's film Cleo From 5 to 7, and Van Etten and her manager both replied, a bit incredulously, asking if he'd somehow seen the artwork for Van Etten's May 27 Jagjaguwar album, Are We There.
"I didn't understand what the big deal was," Palmieri explained in the video's notes. "Finally they sent me a photograph that's a big component of the album artwork. It's this beautiful aged picture of Agnes Varda standing in front of a bazillion reels of 16mm film. This image of one of my filmmaking heroes has been hanging on Sharon's wall wherever she's lived for years and years to the point where it's all tattered and weather-worn."