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Bill Callahan’s ‘Small Plane’ Video Is the Strong, Silent-Film Type

Bill Callahan, "Small Plane," 'Dream River,' video

“Small Plane,” from Bill Callahan’s Essential Dream River, works on a few levels. Actually, “works” doesn’t feel like the right word: It’s a graceful, gliding song, with an awareness that the silences are as important as the sounds, the spaces between the words as important as the words themselves. The gorgeous video, directed by Callahan and Hanly Banks, happens to be modeled after old silent films, and it gently teases out the idea of Callahan’s partnered aircraft flight being about a close relationship. Callahan and Banks, who oversaw last year’s Apocalypse tour documentary, described their plans for the video at length in SPIN’s recent Callahan profile by David Bevan.

“It’s going to be black-and-white,” Callahan told SPIN. “Like a silent movie, with a flickering screen. It’s about a man and a woman, and they’re trying to forge . . . they’re just on the verge of a . . . they both like each other.” The woman tries to make a sign telling the man her feelings, but her boss — played by Callahan, who also appears stoically performing the song — stops her before she finishes. She gives the man the sign anyway, but it only says “I Love Yo.” The man dreams about a small plane, and well, you’d better watch this one for yourself. And then, maybe, share it with someone you trust intimately.