Kanye Unleashes “Runaway”

Rapper screens film before simultaneous MTV and BET airing

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No one could ever accuse Kanye West of taking the easy way out.

While most artists are content to release the standard 3-4 minute video for a song, West created "Runaway," a nearly 40-minute film that premieres Saturday night at 7 p.m. simultaneously on BET and MTV.

The film tells the story of a phoenix, played by model Selita Ebanks, who falls to earth and is saved by Kanye's character. The subsequent ridicule she receives from the "earthlings" is no small part a metaphor for the travails the "misunderstood" rapper has endured after a number of incidents over the years.

Kanye stopped through Chicago Tuesday to screen the film for a crowd of about 300, including celebs such as Kim Kardashian, at the South Loop's Icon Theater.

West introduced the film and afterward talked about the creative process behind it. He payed homage to Michael Jackson's Thriller, which is fitting, because his magnum opus may go down as one of the great films produced by a musician.

He spoke of his creative vision being similar to how a 5-year-old views the world, which we take to mean that he's unfettered by the limits of what we're led to believe is possible. And in the Kanye bravado we've come to know -- and some of us love -- he vowed to continue doing what he feels is right, regardless of the public and media reaction.

We'll leave it to the movie critics to discuss the artistic merits of the film. But one thing is clear -- the music in the film, nine unreleased songs from his upcoming album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," is stellar.

And regardless of what you think of his approach -- Kanye will continue to keep you looking -- and listening.

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