Everyone seems to agree: “Lemonade” is a true cinematic beauty. Pause the hour-long film at any time and you have a perfectly shot freeze-frame of Beyonce being intimidating, tender, or full of life. Credit goes to Beyonce for her focused creative vision, but also to these directors who brought their own styles to the table and helped make “Lemonade” such a visual feast.
Kahlil Joseph is one of the fastest rising stars in the short film world. His style is highly influenced by Terrence Malick, whom he worked under as an editor. He has also collaborated with Kendrick Lamar.
In his music video for Flying Lotus’ “Until The Quiet Comes,” Joseph begins and ends the film with his central figure floating underwater. There is a similar scene in “Lemonade” during the “Pray You Catch Me” segment where Beyonce floats through an underwater bedroom.
Melina Matsoukas is a music video director whose filmography contains a gold mine of A-List music stars: Ludacris, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Ciara have all worked with her.
Matsoukas won a Grammy in 2013 for her video for Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” which depicted a rocky, drug-infested relationship that quickly turns violent after a reckless honeymoon period.
“Lemonade” is the 13th collaboration between Matsoukas and Beyonce. They also worked together earlier this year on “Formation,” a song and video that have both been praised as anthemic.
Dikayl Rimmasch is a director who loves making films in highly contrasted black and white, such as this short film he made featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z as a modern day Bonnie and Clyde.
Rimmasch loves playing with shadows and figures placed against spotlights, and his style can be seen during the black-and-white segments of “Lemonade,” such as the scene with Serena’s cameo appearance.
On the other end of the spectrum is Jonas Akerlund, who loves using saturated colors and dramatic, exciting shots. The scene where Beyonce takes a baseball bat to a car “Big Lebowski”-style can probably be attributed to him.
If you want to see Akerlund at his most bizarre, check out his short film, “The Hidden,” an art piece about the chaos that lies within the human mind. Echoes fill the soundscape, water and strait jacket sleeves flail at the camera, and the pacing draws you into a false sense of calm before jarring you with a scream.
Then there’s Mark Romanek, one of the greatest music video directors of all time. Romanek was honored in 1997 at the MTV VMAs and has won three Grammys for his work with Johnny Cash and Janet and Michael Jackson.
His video with Cash was a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” and its meditation on Cash’s mortality, shortly before his death, has earned it a reputation as one of the greatest videos of all time.
Romanek was responsible for filming the “Sandcastles” segment from “Lemonade,” using soft light and intimate close-ups to show Beyonce and Jay-Z at their most vulnerable.