THE START OF THIS VIDEO IS JARRING. I’m looking out the dingy back window of a sedan driving away from a checkpoint. The narrator, likely the man holding the camera, tells me that these are the first images after crossing the Israel / Jordan border. Somehow this feels like a confession or a threat or the last banal minutes before something seriously crazy happens.
But no, it is just an enthusiastic and camera-savvy Chilean (who’s name I could not glean from the YouTube account) and his lady friend, driving to Petra.
However, after a scant 16 seconds this seemingly innocuous travel video takes a turn for the epic. The beautiful and enigmatic Helena is introduced, the music builds, and Petra’s history is laid out in the opening titles.
The hair stands up on the back of my neck.
The genius of this video is its dance of innocence and bravado. The courageous overture is always building, always piling on the violins and crescendos to accompany the good-natured, apparently happy, slightly cheesy couple who seem intrepidly oblivious and altogether agreeable.
What I mean is, they seem just like you and me.
The shots are epic — a camera sweeps past Helena’s jaw as she bites into an apple, some kind of horse / donkey cart clatters through a sandstone tunnel that leads to the lost but found ancient city.
Video created by elotrojosecito