delve into the symbolism in cix’s new music video, cinema. SPOILER: it involves dante’s inferno (no I’m not kidding)
CIX is definitely in my top five favorite groups so I was super excited about their comeback, and I wasn’t disappointed. Cinema is a gorgeous song, and the video has such a pretty palette and so many fun scenes. At first, I was too caught up in enjoying to really take a close look at what I was seeing, but with subsequent rewatches, I realized that this video holds the key to understanding and interpreting CIX’s entire discography. Let’s take a look at what I mean.
What Is Cinema by CIX about, anyway?
Cinema is a metaphor in song form. The lyrics describe a relationship from the standpoint of a movie. Places where you go are the setting, and the different phases if it are chapters and scenes. Just like with a movie, you don’t know what the ending will be. Once the first film is over, you look back on the moments you enjoyed most and you look forward to the sequel.
How the imagery in the Cinema MV relates to the song is pretty straightforward. Throughout the video, we see the members of CIX making a movie and acting out different scenes in it.
About Dante’s Divine Comedy
To understand the hidden message in this video, you need to go back to the early 14th century. That’s when Dante Alighieri wrote his epic poem, La commedia, better known as The Divine Comedy. I won’t go too deep into the poem, but basically, it follows the travels of Dante’s journey through the afterlife. It consists of three phases:
- Inferno – Dante’s exploration of Hell
- Purgatorio – Dante’s exploration of Purgatory, a sort of limbo believed in by Catholics and some other Christians
- Paradisio – Dante’s exploration of Heaven
The Link Between Cinema & The Divine Comedy
There is one huge connection between the Cinema music video and The Divine Comedy–the sign shown over the boys during the dance sequences. This Italian quote is taken directly from the introduction to the Divine Comedy before the Inferno sequence begins. Loosely translated, it means
Whatever of the holy realm I had the power to treasure in my memory, shall now be matter of my song.
Basically, Dante is saying that he is doing his best to put all of his memories down in his poem. I believe by choosing this poem, CIX is saying that they have done their best to bring the experiences of their lives and their many memories to their music.
Towards the end of the video, we see them write the word Stella on this VHS tape that contains the movie they made. Stella is from the Italian word for star. Its plural form is “Stell, and that is the word that Dante placed at the end of each section of The Divine Comedy as a conclusion. Here, it seems to suggest that this is the end of this story in CIX’s discography.
CIX’s Hello Series
If you’re new to CIX or need a refresher, here are the first three albums that the group repeleased:
HELLO Chapter 1. Hello, Stranger
Single: Movie Star
Secondary video: My New World
HELLO Chapter 2. Hello, Strange Place
HELLO Chapter 3. Strange Time
But wait…what’s this in the background during the dance scenes?
That’s right, hidden on those movie posters is the name of all four of the group’s previous music videos, showing that we’re meant to be thinking of this song and the new album by extension in the context of the others.
As you can see, the previous three releases were all called Hello and then had a chapter title. There have been three chapters, just as there were three sections to Dante’s poem. If we consider The Divine Comedy, then we can analyze the albums as the following.
|Album||Dante Link||Meaning in Dante||Tie Into CIX songs|
|Hello, Stranger||Inferno||deals with morality and the consequences of human actions||Movie Star is about meeting an alluring woman and being seduced by her. My New World is about finding yourself in a bad place and trying to escape. Perhaps the way to this bad location was paved by giving into the temptation of the “Movie Star.”|
|Hello, Strange Place||Purgatorio||deals with being stuck in stasis while atoning for your sins||Numb describes trying to snap out of a trance, to stop standing still and instead move on and try to improve your circumstances. One line says “good and evil is cloudy,” clearly tying into the idea of the in-between of purgatory.|
|Hello, Strange Time||Paradisio||deals with achieving happiness through intellect and theology||Jungle definitely isn’t a holy song. It describes entering a passionate relationship with someone and becoming happily lost in them. But that does kind of sound like a form of paradise, doesn’t it?|
Putting the New Album in Its Place
You would expect that since CIX has released three albums that the new one would be called something like Chapter 4, however, the title is:
Hello Chapter 0: Hello, Strange Dream
This suggests that the album does not come after number three but before the first album. And look at the second half of the title–“strange dream.” That ties right into the quote printed on the marquee. You can think of the fourth mini album as an introduction the rest. Cinema is telling us that we should view the other singles as a sequence of scenes, a trip through the “movie” Hello, which has now finally concluded.
So there you have it, my deep reading of CIX’s Cinema. Did you see anything I missed? What did you think of the video? Let me know in the comments.
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