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Chris Cornell’s final video for “The Promise” is a heartrending look at refugees — watch

on June 20, 2017, 1:34pm

Two months prior to his unfortunate death, Chris Cornell shared the orchestral title song to The Promise, a Christian Bale-starring film about love during the Armenian genocide. Cornell’s wish was to release the song’s video on World Refugee Day. As today marks that day of awareness, the clip has now premiered via Rolling Stone.

The video features footage of refugees fleeing war-ravaged areas in Libya, Syria, and other countries. There are some terrifying moments that bring the horror of modern warfare into sharp focus, but also scenes of optimism, such as reunions and rescues. In fact, one of Cornell’s instructions after seeing a rough cut of the video was for director Meiert Avis to make it less depressing and more hopeful.

As The Promise producer Eric Esrailian said, “Chris had the idea of, ‘How can we bridge the video … with fear-inducing images of what people have to deal with as well as messages and images of hope and perseverance and resilience and survival,’ which is what the song is also about.”

Spliced between the heartrending real-life war footage are shots of Cornell himself performing the song acoustically in Brooklyn. Avis said that the March shoot found the musician in good spirits, excited and focused on capturing the spirit of a song about “a promise to persevere, survive and thrive.” “He was just talking about how happy it made him to scrape the snow off his doorstep that morning and to be in New York with his kids doing the normal shit that dads do,” Avis recalled.

You can watch the video above, and hear more about what Avis and Esrailian have to say about the video, the song, and working with Cornell at RS.

Update, June 22nd: In support of Cornell’s refugee advocacy, a number of celebrities have teamed for the #KeepthePromise campaign. George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hanks, Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Elton John, Cher, Jennifer Lopez, and Pharrell Williams all appear in a video promoting the cause that ends with a clip of Cornell himself. Check it out below: