TDTKs April 2010

THE SMITHS: Harry, Jack and John

In some kind of perverse alchemy I want to fuse together in one programme, three amazing film makers who happen to share the same surname .. they all reference the magic, the playfulness and the transformative power of  film.  We have a ‘main feature’ in Harry’s  masterpiece along with a film haiku from  John Smith and Jack  starring as the doll-eating hero in a Ken Jacob classic from the 60s… this is perfect. G.P.

OM                         John Smith (UK, 16mm, 4 mins,1986 )

A film about haircuts, clothes and image/sound relationships. – J.S.
 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.

Little Stabs At Happiness                        Ken Jacobs ( USA, 16mm, 18 mins, 1963 )

‘Down’ and person to person, cinema officially gets grabbed back from the professionals here. Material was cut in as it came out of the camera, embarrassing moments intact. I was interested in immediacy, a sense of ease, and an art where suffering was acknowledged but not trivialised with dramatics. Whimsy was our achievement. And breaking out of step. – K.J.
Starring Jack Smith.

Heaven And Earth Magic Feature                       Harry E Smith (USA, 16mm, 66 mins,1961)

One of Smith’s most well-known works; and surely a masterpiece –  this collage film is constructed from cut-outs culled from nineteenth-century catalogues, the film traverses the landscape of an hermetic dream, as Smith describes it :

“The first part depicts the heroine’s toothache consequent to the loss of a very valuable watermelon, her denistry and transportation to heaven. Next follows an elaborate exposition of the heavenly land in terms of Israel, Montreal and the second part depicts the return to earth from being eaten by Max Muller on the day Edward the Seventh dedicated the Great Sewer of London”.