The Filming of U2’s ‘All I Want Is You’ Music Video

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Last Updated on 2023/12/02

How U2’s Music Video Pays Homage to Federico Fellini and Tod Browning.

The music video for U2’s “All I Want Is You” is a cinematic piece directed by Meiert Avis, known for his distinct visual storytelling. The video was shot in Ostia, a neighborhood in Rome, on April 18, 1989. Ostia, with its rich history and picturesque landscapes, provided an ideal backdrop for this project. The beach of Capocotta and the village of Ostia Antica, near the Castle of Julius II, were the primary filming locations. The scenes captured include a circus on the beach and a funeral procession in the old village.

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Avis’s direction gave the video a film-like quality, distinct from typical music videos of the time. U2, although central to the song, appears only briefly, allowing the narrative to focus on the story of a dwarf, played by Paolo Risi, and his love for a trapeze artist, portrayed by Paola Rinaldi. The narrative culminates in a poignant climax where one of the characters tragically dies. Addressing fan speculation, The Edge confirmed that it’s Rinaldi’s character who meets this fate. The video pays homage to Federico Fellini, who was filming “La voce della luna” nearby, and to Tod Browning’s 1932 film, “Freaks.”

The video, shot entirely in black-and-white, echoes the style of a silent movie, a concept developed by Barry Devlin. The narrative centers on a wintering circus on a beach, featuring Rinaldi as a captivating aerial performer and Risi as a fellow circus worker smitten with her. The storyline unfolds with Risi’s character gazing longingly at Rinaldi on the trapeze, only to discover her involvement with another man. In a tragic twist, it seems Risi falls from the trapeze and dies, but he is later seen among mourners at a funeral, where he throws a ring intended for Rinaldi into the grave. This scene is set against the backdrop of the Basilica of Santa Aurea in Ostia.

“All I Want Is You” also appears on the soundtrack of the 1994 film “Reality Bites, a quintessential portrayal of early ’90s youth culture, starring Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, and Ethan Hawke.

In addition to the music video, a documentary titled “The Making Of All I Want is You” was also filmed, providing insights into the production process. The video is included in U2’s “The Best of 1980-1990” compilation but not in the “U218 Videos” compilation.

Paola Rinaldi, who played the trapeze artist in the “All I Want Is You” video, began her career in television and theater. She gained prominence with roles in Italian films like “Cicciabomba” (1982) and “In viaggio con papà,” as well as in the horror film “Il nido del ragno” (1988). Besides her film work, Rinaldi also had a notable television presence, including a significant role in the soap opera “Un posto al sole” from 1997 to 2001. She authored “Memorie di una soap-operaia” (2002), a book detailing her experiences in TV production.

Paolo Risi, the actor playing the dwarf, is known for his roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1999), “Tale of Tales” (2015), and the TV series “Rome” (2005). His portrayal in the U2 video showcases his range and depth as an actor.

Sources: U2songs, Wikipedia

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