The Artistry of Pushing It

From the album Version 2.0, the video “Push It” by Garbage remains high on my all-time favorites list. The juxtaposition of the surreal and semi-mythical characters in the overtly domestic settings (grocery store, home) with lead singer Shirley Manson, is a feast for the eyes. The early and selective use of bullet-time mixed with CG effects amplified my love of this vid. And the final unmasking which reveals Ms. Manson as the real antagonist gives me a punch of feministic satisfaction in that ‘a-ha’ moment. The director’s artistic vision of this “short story” appeals to my love of cool and creepy. And it serves as a great workout song as well.

According to Wikipedia, the video for “Push It” was directed by Italian photographer Andrea Giacobbe for Propaganda Films in Los Angeles, shooting for four days in March, 1998. It cost over $400,000 to make; particularly in its use of “bullet-time” (a rotating camera that captures a subject in mid-motion). Giacobbe used many different film stock to create the different shots within the video. At points in the narrative, the video changes to sepia tone, black and white or false-color. The “Push It” video premiered internationally on April 6. The “Push It” video is the first Garbage video since 1995’s “Queer” video to incorporate a narrative: Disguised as nuns, three antagonists arrive at a supermarket where Manson is shopping with her partner (a “fuzzy” being) and assassinate him. Another team of schoolboy triplets are tracking Manson’s next partner (with a “lightbulb-head”) contacting Manson by telephone. Manson lets them into her home, where she takes possession of their brief-case (a MacGuffin device), while the triplets capture their target. After a series of shots showing Manson’s maternal relationships with her children, a disguised figure brings a balloon to a cemetery to give to Manson and her family (child versions of both “fuzzy” and “lightbulb-head”) to add to the two she already has. The disguised figure is later revealed to be Manson herself, who leaves her home with both of her now-adult children, and clutching the triplet’s briefcase. The video ends on the word Fine and was nominated for eight MTV Video Music Awards.



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