Nedfall viser turneprogrammet John Smith: Early Shorts fra LUX (London, UK).

John Smith
Early Shorts
UK, 2012, 85 minutes
Colour, Sound (stereo), HD Video

Programme contents:

Associations 1975, 7 mins
Images from magazines and colour supplements accompany a spoken text taken from ‘Word Associations and Linguistic Theory’ by Herbert H. Clark. By using the ambiguities inherent in the English language, Associations sets language against itself. Image and word work together/against each other to destroy/create meaning. – J.S.
‘Associations is a straightforward rebus (a game in which words are replaced by pictures). But the text is so dense (contemporary linguistic theory) and the combination of visual puns so extensive that a simple, unique reading of the film is impossible.’ – A.L. Rees. ‘Unpacking 7 Films’ programme notes.

The Girl Chewing Gum, 1976, 12 mins
‘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.’ – 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.

The Black Tower, 1985-1987, 24 mins
In The Black Tower we enter the world of a man haunted by a tower which, he believes, is following him around London. While the character of the central protagonist is indicated only by a narrative voice-over which takes us from unease to breakdown to mysterious death, the images, meticulously controlled and articulated, deliver a series of colour coded puzzles, games, jokes and puns which pull the viewer into a mind-teasing engagement. Smith’s assurance and skill as a filmmaker undercuts the notion of the avant- garde as dry, unprofessional and dull and in Tower we have an example of a film which plays with the emotions as well as the language of film.’ – Nik Houghton, Independent Media.
‘The Black Tower expands the core of Smith’s interests: chiefly, the image as a filmic fact which is constantly questioned and often undermined by language and soundtrack. Like his earlier films, The Black Tower is concerned with description, but this time framed by a story whose undertow of melancholy balances its wit and wry humour, and which is a remarkable fiction in its own right.’ – A.L. Rees.
‘The hilarious and slightly menacing The Black Tower is one of the most accomplished films to come from the British avant-garde for years.’ – Michael O’Pray, Independent Media.

OM, 1986, 4 mins
A film about haircuts, clothes and image/sound relationships. – J.S.
‘This four minute film explores our response to stereotypes – aural, visual and ideological. Smith signals these stereotypes to the viewer through a chiefly associational system, which deftly manipulates the path of our expectations. The structure is stunningly simple and deceptively subtle. We are taken on a journey from one concrete stereotype to its diametric opposite, as images transform and juxtapose to, ultimately, invert our interpretation of what we see and hear.’ Gary Davis.

Slow Glass, 1988-1991, 40 mins
‘The film begins with a shout in the street and a smashed pane, and ends with a bricked-up window. Between these literal images of opening and closing, Slow Glass spins immaculately shot puns and paradoxes that play on reflection and speculation – words that refer both to acts of seeing and of mind. Glass is the key, as a narrator’s running commentary sketches the glassmaker’s art, splicing a history lesson with a quasi-autobiography. The authority of word, voice and picture is questioned through the film’s gradual revelation of its own (highly pleasurable) artifice. The cutting of glass is matched to the editing of film, and the camera’s lens to the surface which it captures. Through the pub-talk and the downing of glasses, other themes emerge, among them is the constancy of change, as the face of London alters and the past becomes present (conveyed in jump-cuts showing streets and shops changing over time and season, and in a gently ironized evocation of a 50’s childhood). The flowing Thames echoes the theme of flux, but also underscores the renewed attacks on East London life in the age of the property war – another kind of speculation. Slow Glass suggests that the living past has been turned into capitalized ‘Heritage’, that the British Documentarist’s noble craftsman only survives as a museum piece, and that reality in film is itself a fiction. In this film, the fiction is a crafted illusion that always has a human face.’ – A.L. Rees.

Nedfall er Bergen Kunsthalls egen serie for film- og videokunst og produseres i samarbeid med Bergen Filmklubb. Nedfall blir kuratert av Bergen Kunsthall (Ingrid Erstad og Åse Løvgren) og vil inneholde filmvisninger, presentasjoner og foredrag.

Opprinnelig er Nedfall tittelen på en kortfilm av Erik Borge fra 1964 og blir av mange regnet som den første frie kunstneriske filmen i Norge. Den banet veien for en periode med eksperimentering innen ny norsk film som representerte et brudd med etablerte holdninger og verdier.
Nedfall har tidligere vist filmer av blant andre Harun Farocki, Anton Vidokle, Phil Collins og Petra Bauer/Kim Einarsson/Marius Dybwad Brandrud.

Pris: Gratis for medlemmer av Bergen Filmkubb og Bergen Kunsthall. (medlemskap kan kjøpes). kr 40 for uten medlemskap.

John Smith: Early Shorts