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Girl Band 'Shoulderblades' by Bob Gallagher

David Knight - 24th June 2019

Bob Gallagher's latest video for Dublin rock outfit Girl Band is a departure from his previous run of gripping narratives, like the brilliantly off-the-wall Paul - but this is still next-level intense. 

For Shoulderblades, Gallagher collaborates with dancer Oona Doherty, and her performance, veering between unhinged and harrowing, but with hints of impish humour, is a reflection of the sheer power and brooding aggression in the song. Utterly compelling.


When you crack your head open something gets out, but some things get in too.

"This time last year I fractured my skull. I lost my sense of balance, and couldn’t stand up or walk for a while, so I started seeing a different value in movement. That injury also became a narrative focal point I was able to hinge the action around. That kind of forced pause in life can bring you to certain realisations. When you crack your head open something gets out, but some things get in too. 

"I think it’s a real testament to the creative spirit of the band that they encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and attempt to make something with no props or set dressing or conventional narrative, and to try and articulate an idea with dance and movement. It was a challenge to come up with a video of one performer in an empty space and make it feel like you’ve still gone on a journey over 6 minutes. 

"In Oona we found an incredible co-conspirator, who was able to combine the elements, bring life to it and make it into something really mesmerising. I couldn’t imagine any other dancer being able to bring that combination of beauty and violence to the video. She pushed herself in the physicality of her performance, but also emotionally; she could switch from vulnerable to menacing at a speed that would give anyone else whiplash. I also loved how Oona was unphased by the weird combinations of references I’d send her, going from Jim Carrey beating himself up in Liar Liar, to screaming Francis Bacon paintings. 

"The idea grew out of Dara’s reference to the character of Ed Mordake, a man with two faces, so duality was a major theme. I think everyone struggles to some degree with containing themselves in one fixed state or another. It can be a cause of pain and trauma when you feel you have to curate your own nature into one outward version of yourself. There’s a relief in allowing yourself to be in flux. 

"There’s a line from Rilke that articulates this better than I can, that goes: ‘it never occurred to me before how many faces there are. There are multitudes of people, but there are many more faces, because each person has several of them'. It was interesting for me to see how well dance allows an idea to live in the abstract so it can remain very open. It can mean what it means to the band, and also what it means to Oona and to myself. Hopefully that translates in a way that people watching it can find something in it to relate to, strange as it may be."

David Knight - 24th June 2019


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Bob Gallagher
Bob Gallagher
Production Company
Bold Puppy
Production Manager
Maggie Fagan


Director of Photography
Evan Barry
Focus Puller
Cris Ayoub
Camera Assistant
Camila Gomes
2nd AC
Laurent Murray


Stephen Mccarthy


Production designer
Molly O'cathain


Hair & Make-up
Ber Drennan
SFX Make-up
Bobby McGlynn
Costume designer
Saileog O'halloran


Lead actor
Oona Doherty


John Cutler
Editing company


Matt Branton
Grading company
Windmill Lane


Director's Representation
John Hassay


Additional Photography
Kevin Minogue
Lighting Designer
Jason Foran

Other credits

Technocrane Operated by Philip Murphy, Marty Walsh and Stevie Nourse Transport

Cal Folger Day Stills Photographer

David Knight - 24th June 2019

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