Portishead's music has always had a darknening menace, a kind of jazzy noir that recalls the days of Prohibition, and its Hollywood reflection of gangsters, mob men, and lurid romanticism. The timbre of Beth Gibbons' voice hangs in some silky darkness that floats above some on-screen nightclub. It's a voice made for the screen, and Only You provides it its best treatment.

Set in a midnight brick alleyway, Chris combines the darkening dread of gangster films with the equally haunting fear of drowning, a fear Chris later explored in greater detail for flex.

In his Directors Label book, he remarks, "When I was a kid I used to have this recurring dream of walking down the high street of the village I grew up in and not being able to catch my breath. It was like standing on the sea-bed with lead boots on and looking up and seeing the surface of the water forty feet away and feeling really panicked and wanting to get to the top."

This dread he transfers brilliantly onto the man peering out of the old city window four stories up. Skin ghostly white, Beth Gibbons stands in the shadows while a young boy swims eerily above the alleyway, motions guided by the hand of the music. Their relationship is ambiguous, but the feelings of loss generated by the video are certainly real.

The video was filmed underwater, which, like Chris' video for Placebo, made the shoot a bit complicated. "We couldn't communicate through the water, there [were] divers splashing around, Beth had snot bubbles coming out of her nose, I was sitting there thinking - what the fuck am I going to do with this, it's a disaster." (Sleaze Nation)

Regardless of the complications, the finished video wound up one of Chris' favorites.

Only You is available on Chris' Directors Label DVD, and on Portishead's Roseland New York live DVD.

Treatment
For the duration of the song we are placed in the middle of a night time dream world, which has it's own sense of logic, but is far removed from reality that is has a disturbing resonance.

Our first shot as we fade up is a small child. He is moving toward us down a darkened alleyway illuminated by blue light, emanating from large surrounding windows. His movements are in complete sync with the music. By reversing and changing speed he slips backwards and forward in time with the scratching. Constantly watching his feet as he moves, he looks like he is playing a weird game with himself.

As he gets closer we see his puffy, pale features ripple and flow. His hair swimming around in the air as he slips and slides perfectly controlled and surreally slow, moving gently, in and out of the soft light.

The alleyway is real but by now we know the boy is curiously alien.

He has been filmed in an underwater tank in slow motion and transferred back into the scene, the shadows hiding any trace of post-tricky. Using frame cutting to speed him up and slow him down his fluid, bizarre movement are co-ordinated perfectly to the trackís relentless slips and restarts.

He will be moving to the beat throughout the video and will set the pace, visually.

One of the recurring images in the video is the windows which surround the scene. Whenever we hear the old soundtrack samples in the track we pan over to them where we see the characters in the bright fluorescent lit rooms, filled with water.

Our boy passes them and the characters watch him as he passes.

Awards
1999 D&AD Awards
  Pop Promos : Direction
1999 Music Week CAD Awards
  Best Dance Video

Nominations
1999 D&AD Awards
  Pop Promos : Special Effects
1999 Music Week CAD Awards
  Best Video of 1998