Ridley Scott Offers a Glimpse of Freedom in the Urban Wild
For the release of the Galaxy S23 series by Samsung, renowned director Ridley Scott put his name to a short film called "Behold"—shot #withGalaxy, natch.
The work is far shorter than Apple's recent “Shot on iPhone” epic, which clocked in at over 17 minutes. For all that, it's no less mythic.
Written by Luke Scott, "Behold" was shot in Marseille, France's Kaliste enclave, which was once rehabilitated and repainted to reflect new urban aspirations. These days, it's corroded, and a wildness has taken root.
That's the theme of our story. It follows a young man who is pursued by a group of other young people. The chase takes them through the ruins of the city and is briefly interrupted by a squabble with law enforcement. The man eventually finds himself alone in the dark, surrounded by scraps and all manner of debris. That's where, improbably, he discovers a horse, lying on its side.
Our hero sings "Amazing Grace" with resounding gentleness as he coaxes the beast to rise. That moment is spliced with footage of Jeremiah "Sugar J." Brown, a British-Jamaican poet, reciting from one of his works:
Let us man be loud.
Let us man not doubt
Let us man not fear.
Let us not fear you.
Let us man just go.
Let us man just be.
Let us man just live.
Ultimately, the young man leads the horse into the natural wild, where he removes its harness and sends it galloping into the dusk.
"Do as you would be done by," the film concludes.
"Behold" is a story about freedom, and its relationship to kindness—not letting that aspect of yourself be strangled by hostility and aggression, maybe because it’s our only shot at freedom in a meaningful sense. It also has something to say about wildness. Urban habitats are built as an almost aggressive response to "wild" nature, like some part of us suspects there’s nothing out there but death and incomprehensible chaos.
But wildness isn"t entirely to be feared, and other, more insidious versions of it find easy purchase in the concrete turf of cities, where, driven to desperation, unbridled human warmth is snuffed out like stars. In the protagonist, we also see the inevitable inner conflict between civilization and natural freedom. The balance between both is a delicate and constant calibration, and it’s among the oldest story themes we have.
"I think the idea is allegorical," Ridley Scott says in campaign materials. "It’s a very simple, emotional piece of storytelling. And shooting on a phone, we were able to access real environments and smaller spaces."
"Behold" was created in collaboration with Plan'it and Cheil, with special effects from Untold Studios. Here’s the behind-the-scenes:
Samsung presents a Ridley Scott Creative Group Production
A Ridley Scott Film Behold in association with Plan’it & Cheil
Director - Ridley Scott
Writer - Luke Scott
Production – RSA Films
Producer - Emma Cairns
Executive Producers - Kai Hsiung, John Payne, Joon Park, Ms. Lim
Director of Photography - Flavio Labiano
Creative Director - Luke Scott, Christine Jones
Based upon an original idea by Ridley Scott Creative
VFX: Untold Studios
ECD - Dave Fleet
VFX Supervisor - Chris Redding
VFX Lead - Tom Moreland
VFX Artists - Emma Tyler, Aaron Lear, Stepan Pazderka
EP - Tomek Zietkiewicz
VFX Producer -Nathan Hoad
Editor - Jim Weedon
Colour - Company 3
Colour EP - Ellora Soret
Senior Colourist - Jean-Clément Soret
Original Music and Arrangements - Eclectic
“Amazing Grace” by John Newton
Poet - Jeremiah Brown
Production Manager - Andrea Harvey
Production Coordinator - Manuela Sanchiz Garin
Production Coordinator - Joss George-Gilbert
Production Designer Marc Homes
Costume Designer - Verity Hawkes
Camera Operator - Daniele Massaccesi
Camera Operator - Hannah Jell, Matt Poynter
Focus Puller - Luis Lattanzi, Chaz Lyon, Ben Casciello Rogers
Clapper Loader - Filippo Maso
Technical Support - Incite
Edit House - Assembly Rooms
Edit Producers - Daniel Breheny, Pheobe Armstrong-Beaver
Assistant - Eden Read
Sound Design & Mix – Bark Soho
Sound Designer – Eden Read
Audio Producer - Carley Reynolds
Production Service France - Peninsula Film
Cast - Eshan Gopal, Abigail Stones, Jeremiah Brown, Mei Alozie, Joshua Vaughan, Efeosa Afolabi, Mohamed-Amin Djedid