Friday, 11 October 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 295: Tue Oct 22

Hackney Marshes (Smith, 1978) & The Girl Chewing Gum (Smith, 1976):
The White Building Unit 7, Queen's Yard White Post Lane London E9 5EN, 7pm

This is a specially curated screening by Iain Sinclair.
Iain Sinclair will be in conversation with filmmaker John Smith after the screening.
London psycho-geographical writer Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year with the showing of 70 films he handpicked that relate to his work. Here are the full listings. 
The Girl Chewing Gum is a 1976 British short film directed by John Smith. The film is widely acknowledged as one of the most important avant-garde films of the 20th century.

'In The Girl Chewing Gum an authoritative voice-over pre-empts the events occurring in the image, seeming to order not only the people, cars and moving objects within the screen but also the actual camera movements operated on the street in view. In relinquishing the more subtle use of voice-over in television documentary, the film draws attention to the control and directional function of that practice: imposing, judging, creating an imaginary scene from a visual trace. This 'Big Brother' is not only looking at you but ordering you about as the viewer's identification shifts from the people in the street to the camera eye overlooking the scene. The resultant voyeurism takes on an uncanny aspect as the blandness of the scene (shot in black and white on a grey day in Hackney) contrasts with the near 'magical' control identified with the voice. The most surprising effect is the ease with which representation and description turn into phantasm through the determining power of language.' - from Michael Maziere, John Smith's Films: Reading the Visible' Undercut 10/11.

'John Smith's improbable treatise on representation has deservedly become a Co-op classic.'
Ian Christie, Time Out.


Hackney Marshes was a documentary commissioned by Thames Television for the series Take Six. 

Smith says: ‘Shown at 6 o’clock in the evening – how things have changed!’ John Wyver wrote the review in Time Out. ‘The dual subjects are the inhabitants of tower blocks in Hackney and the components and conventions of filmmaking. Interviews with the former are cut against a limited sequence of compositions, which illustrate and question the soundtrack in a number of distinct ways… Its success demonstrates the necessity for many TV film-makers to begin to rethink their safe approaches and accepted techniques.’

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