"Every Breaking Wave" (Film) [13:17]

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Video Information

This is a short music film for U2’s ‘Every Breaking Wave’. It also features ‘The Troubles’ by U2 and ‘Alternative Ulster’ by Stiff Little Fingers.

The video was nominated for:

  • Nominated for Best Music video and Cinematography at Cameraimage 2015
  • Nominated for Best International Video, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction & Design and Best Editing at UK MVAs 2015

This longer version of the film by Aoife McArdle was also edited down to a shorter form to be used as the video for “Every Breaking Wave”.

The short film was shot in Belfast, Northern Ireland over four days, December 15 – 18, 2014. U2 were not present for the video shoot, nor do they appear in the video. The video was filmed in and around Belfast. The first days shooting was outdoor scenes at night in and near Colin Glen Forest Park. On the second day indoor filming was done. On the 17th and 18th the street shots were completed. The entire film ran 13:17 in length and used music from “The Troubles” by U2, and “Alternate Ulster” by Stiff Little Fingers, as well as “Every Breaking Wave”.

The video is set against the turmoil of Belfast in the early 1980s, where McArdle grew up and follows two young people, one Catholic and one Protestant, who fall in love during the Troubles. One summary of the video explains, “The short tells the tale of two teenagers of opposing religions – a Catholic boy called Sean (Josh Thompson) and his love interest, a Protestant girl from the Shankill. Akin to Romeo and Juliet, the two teens fall in love amidst ongoing strife in their hometown, trying to overcome the odds.” Sandra is played by Emily Lamey.

The video includes voice overs from the characters in the film. The edit starts with scenes in a club in the early 80s where a crowd surfing girl sees a green eyed boy. We then see them dancing in the woods, swimming together, and falling in love. Sean’s father is later taken and he is seen ripping up posters and getting involved with a group of men with guns. Sandra goes to visit him, and at the same time a bomb goes off leaving the street outside the home in ruins. She’s ok however, and Sean and Sandra help a wounded soldier to his feet at the end of the video.

The Edge gave the video high praise. “The Aoife McArdle short film expands on the theme of Songs of Innocence which was largely rooted in our experience growing up in the early eighties in Dublin. Aoife chose west Belfast in the same period, as it was the neighborhood that was so formative to her,” he said. Spike Jonze, commenting on the longer film version said, “I was really taken with this film. She captured that feeling and size of life of being a teenager and of first love so well. She drifts between the reality of friends and first love into fantasy so effortlessly and romantically. It’s a perfect little gem of a romance movie.”

McArdle spoke to the Irish Times about the video in 2018, and how she was a bit wary of accepting the project.“They have been around a long time but they still keep their eyes and their ears open. I think that’s what bands who have longevity do,” she says. “This will make you laugh. I went off and made this film in Belfast. It created a bit of a fracas on the street. When they watched the video they said: ‘We thought we were getting Grease and we got Apocalypse Now.’ They thought they were going to get this happy romance. They got this thing with all these explosions. Ha ha!”

Video Shooting Locations

Quick Start - Leaflet

Additional Screen Captures

Video Credits

Writer/Director: Aoife McArdle
Executive Producers: Sally Campbell, Tim Nash, Tash Tan
Producers: Nick Goldsmith, Chris Martin
U2 Creative Director: Jefferson Hack
Production Manager: Darren Chesney
Lead Cast: Josh Thompson, Emily Lamey, Jay Andrews, Rory McDonald-Watson, Oran French, Corey McKinlay, Aaron Lynch, Alan Gildea, Seamus O Hara Nicole Kearny
Casting Director: Leanne Flinn
DP: Steve Annis
Steadicam Op: Derek Walker
Production Designer: Gillian Deveney
Locations Manager: Richard Glenholmes
Costume Designer: Maggie Donnelly
Make-up Artist: Shelley Blair
1st ADs: Amanda Black, Paul George
Editor: Dan Sherwen at Final Cut
Sound Design: Patch Rowland at Final Cut
Colourist: Simon Bourne at Framestore
Digital Effects Artist: Darran Nicholson at Framestore
Production Company: Somesuch
Creative Agency: MAD London
Record Label: Island Records