The increased international cachet of Athens-born Romain Gavras, renown for his direction of M.I.A.’s “Born Free” video, only grows larger with the visuals for Jamie xx’s “Gosh.” Opening with an albino sitting in between a legion of others wearing virtual reality masks (it’s all very Alex at the Milk Bar), the societally plagued tableau continues as Gavras cuts to the albino standing on a balcony, only to pan out and reveal an individual cubically framed in each of the other apartments next to him. The sight is not only jarring, but indicative of the isolation punctuated by the luxury we think we want.
Legions of faceless people then pepper the ground below, a backdrop set in the Chinese city of Tianducheng–posing as another slightly more famed location. For the video, a replica of Paris was built in Tianducheng, showing the city in a state of near total emptiness, save for the worshipping acolytes of the albino we are first introduced to.
Soon, the legions are scattering down a certain iconic and seemingly infinite outdoor staircase (showing a nod to another great filmmaker besides Kubrick, Eisenstein and his classic, Battleship Potemkin). From the bottom of the stairs, the horde runs toward the Eiffel Tower in a scene epic in scope and mise-en-scene. Jarring to the eyes, Gavras’ intended effect seems to be to iterate how disposable we all are–how at the mercy of a single being we look to for guidance we appear to be. In this case, the lauded albino seems to have just as little idea about what to do with life as the others.
As the legions circle around him in a frenetic, choreographed fashion, the albino remains the calm eye in the middle of the storm. They shout at him and continue their hurried dance, but the albino is immoveable and Gavras soon zooms out to show us the entire portrait of the Eiffel Tower again. What it all represents, one feels, is that to be in a position of power is to be aloof. That, and Gavras clearly has good taste in cinema mentors to be this well influenced.