Joseph Kahn is a legendary music video director, having created music videos for artists such as Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and (most recently) Ava Max. But his recent film, Bodied, may be his most provocative work. In Bodied, a graduate student named Adam (Calum Worthy) realizes he has a talent for battle rapping, but discovers that his words inside the ring may have consequences beyond what he’d originally imagined.

Kahn is one of the most talented visual stylists of our age, so I was pleased to have the chance to chat with him recently about how he thinks about his filmmaking technique. We recorded a video broadcast in which he breaks down the opening sequence of Bodied shot by shot. Check out our talk after the jump. You can watch Bodied right now on YouTube Premium, or buy it on Blu-Ray or iTunes VOD.

https://youtu.be/J8Ze3len9vs

Here’s the official plot summary for Bodied:

Words are weapons in the world’s most brutal lyrical sport. Produced by Eminem and directed by Joseph Khan, one of the biggest music video directors of all time (from Wu Tang Clan to Taylor Swift), “Bodied” is a go-for-the-jugular, hilarious look inside the competitive world of rap battles. Berkeley grad student Adam Merkin (Calum Worthy; “American Vandal,” “Austin & Ally”) gets sucked into the game after meeting icon Behn Grym (Jackie Strong; BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood”) and accidentally competing in—and winning—his first battle. Rising through the ranks of the battle scene with his provocative insults, Adam alienates his academic buddies, uptight girlfriend, and literary professor father (Anthony Michael Hall).

Bodied won the Audience Award at AFI Fest and Fantastic Fest, as well as the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

For more of Joseph’s thoughts on Bodied and his other recent work, check out the most recent episode of my podcast, Culturally Relevant, where I chat with Joseph for over an hour about his thoughts on how being a father has changed his perspective, the state of Asian-American representation in the media, and the perils of “cancel culture.”

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