Natalie Imbruglia – “Shiver”



Jake Nava’s music video for “Shiver” by Natalie Imbruglia borrows a number of elements directly from The Bourne Supremacy (2004), as well as The Bourne Identity (2002).  Recognizing the success of the budding franchise, Nava and Imbruglia took the opportunity in 2005 to embrace the action-oriented fashion in an effort to make a “departure from Imbruglia’s previous video styles” 1. It appears the idea was to place a female (Imbruglia) on the run, in the action-oriented circumstances usually reserved for males.  With great consideration for the Bourne style, the final product offers intriguing visuals for a seemingly ordinary pop song.




“Shiver” faithfully achieves the look and feel of the Bourne films through mise en scène, a French term that means “the director’s control over what appears in the film frame” 2.  Considering things such as “setting, lighting, costume, and the behavior of the figures,” Nava aimed to channel the tone and events of the films into this work 2.  In some cases, such as the shot in the image above, Imbruglia was staged to closely match one of Jason Bourne’s situations.  Additionally, consideration was given to details such as the street activity beyond the car’s cabin, as well as the raindrops on the window.  Nava’s decision to shoot the video in Kiev, Ukraine during the winter offered the dreary climate that is often evident throughout the Bourne series.  Such attention to detail was key to match the style of the films.




Plot is another aspect of the video that relies on established scenes from the Bourne series.  The beginning of “Shiver” finds Imbruglia curiously burning her personal effects, implying someone is out to find and harm her. With the support of mise en scène, the series of shots draws an unmistakable connection between the two individuals and sets up familiar themes and events to come.  Just after a minute into the video, Nava spells out the Bourne-inspired concept, for anyone with doubts, through a chase scene that features a car flying down a set of stairs.  Both of these occurrences, supported by striking visual resemblance, were carefully selected from the source material to best identify the brand of the narrative.




Beyond the video’s well-defined, single inspiration is the potential to evoke other references.  Whether it was Nava’s goal to do so or not, those who have seen the 1965 Italian film Red Desert might draw a visual connection to it through a shot in the second half of “Shiver.”  In the scene following Imbruglia’s exit from a train, a wide shot consisting of a crowd of people, a row of cars, and an industrial site is awfully similar to a sight in Red Desert.  While this particular music video is primed to admit motion picture references, it is certainly interesting to consider the medium’s power to allow for cinematic citations that may or may not have been intended.


This video’s obvious quotation of the Bourne films doesn’t grant the concept complete originality, but, overall, it is an effective example of a product of cinema.  The ability to offer previously established material in a fresh venue is one of music video’s great debts to film.




 1 – (2005)

 2 – Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 112.






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