“Can you be quiet? Can you be quiet but strong? Because I’m not silencing you. You’re a strong woman, you’re just quiet.”
Opening lines of an overzealous photographer leads Molly Burch’s “Candy” — taken from her highly received album First Flower — to a beautiful appreciation of loving the skin you’re in. Shot on 8mm film and directed by Nöel Wells ( Master Of None / Saturday Night Live), “Candy” captures mental anguish of being on display and teeters between the visible and invisible strength of a woman. As the track’s natural vibrancy is that of a casual and loving surf-pop ditty from decades ago, Wells’ direction juxtaposes the romantic nature with Burch’s contemplative facial expressions aiming to break free.
Playfully jabbing at strong characters during a photoshoot, Burch’s quiet nature is brought to the table as the team “molds” her into what they seem fit. The rawness and textured film nods at various elements, such as the era of silence and Burch’s role as a woman in that time. Pastel and floral decor fills up the majority of the frames to beautify the chaos brewing with Burch and soften the perspective.
Burch’s beauty is purposely shown in a variety of ways: Natural beauty that is glamorized through pretty flowers and flashy angles, as well as a stripped down version shown through numerous attempts of escape through the video. Burch’s line is finally drawn and furthermore adding to the various elements of a woman that aren’t seen or glamorized; self-respect.
Wells states, “I also had this instinct where I wanted to make Molly look really great, I think she’s so beautiful and it made me excited to play with that, and there was a part of me that thought ‘as a woman why would I want to make her look so hot, isn’t that objectifying her?’ And then realized the female gaze is completely different, if anything it’s a celebration and appreciation, there’s a safety in expressing that beauty.”
With various scenes that propel a viewer into the anxious thoughts and torn isolation that swarms Burch’s mind, the collaboration between Wells and Burch gives “Candy” another wondrous meaning.
Cover photo: Max Jenkins