Although We Were Once a Fairytale (2007) begins slowly, with Kanye West stumbling drunkenly around a nightclub, the short film offers strange but rare insight into the celebrity/artist/god’s psychological complexes in a totally strange and successful way. He accomplishes this by stabbing himself in a bathroom, and producing a rodent from his guts. One of the main criticisms thrown Kanye’s way (other than pointing to his spectacular ego) is his inability to express himself coherently, but in his collaboration with Spike Jonze, Kanye seems to accomplish seemingly genuine and recognizable sentiment.
At first all of your assumptions about Kanye are affirmed: seeing him act like a shithead around the club, pitching back and forth barely able to stand, he is almost too easy to dislike. It’s about halfway through, when he ends up in the bathroom alone, that things begin to change. After he stabs himself, the vulnerable and repulsive creature he extracts from his streaming red-ribbon viscera creates an inner layer of Kanye most people are perhaps even unwilling to concede to him. Depending on how you look at it, it could be as cheesy/naive Bound 2 music video, but it’s difficult not to respect Kanye for the attempt to bare something deeper even when he is bashed so vehemently by pretty much anyone. The film defies direct interpretations. You have a sense of what the rodent represents: something living within, curious and grotesque, but it’s difficult to make sense of his relationship to the creature when he hands it a miniature knife. The final shot of Kanye’s expression maintains the ambiguity of the event, and keeps you thinking about it long after.