David Knight - 8th July 2016

Dublin-based director Bob Gallagher has made several videos for the Irish noise-rockers Girl Band, their intense sound providing an apt soundtrack to his strangely compelling, twisted dramas - like in Paul, where a children's TV entertainer goes seriously off the rails. Their latest collaboration for In Plastic, is more of a Kafka-meets-1984 setpiece: it's a border security checkpoint, at an unspecified time period, with the focus on a very anxious traveller in the line for the X-ray scanner, fearful of discovery of the the unknown contents of his suitcase.  

With his excellent use of an impressive supporting cast, and particularly with the editing, Gallagher extracts every drop of tension from this always-relevant scenario. And just as with the previous Girl Band videos, there's plenty of black humour in there too.


"This is the fourth video I've done with Girl Band, so there's maybe a continuity in the tone and the humour of it, but it's a more of a departure stylistically from the other videos. The others have had a narrative drive, whereas In Plastic is more about creating an atmosphere, and putting the viewer through a weird overwhelming sensory experience, that hopefully compliments the different dynamics in the track. The narrative doesn't make literal sense, and should feel confusing and claustrophobic. A bit like being on the inside of a panic attack. 

"I think I pitched the idea to the band as the fever dream Kafka might have if he ever read 1984. It's it's not set in a particular place or period. Some of the references and inspirations are historical and some are quite recent. It's a mish-mash of influences, and a lot of it was shaped by conversations with the band. 

"The video is obviously totally ridiculous in many ways, but it touches on themes of surveillance, paranoia, and how arbitrary the construct of a border can seem, which are all very contemporary anxieties. When I see clips of Donald Trump talking about deporting people and building walls I have to remind myself that I'm not watching an absurd alternate reality."


DirectorBob Gallagher
ProducerBob Gallagher
Production CompanyInvisible Thread
Director of PhotographyDeirdre O'Toole
Focus PullerMyrid Carten
Art DirectorBary Davenport
Art DirectorClare Hynes
WardrobeSarah Whitford
Make-upSusan Kenny
EditorPeter Madden
ColouristRichard O'Connor
Lead actorWill O' Connell
CommissionerCath Hurley
LabelRough Trade

David Knight - 8th July 2016

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