FLAT SCREENS | film and conversation

FLAT SCREENS is a monthly programme of films curated by Andrea Luka ZImmerma

Flat Screens 02:

An evening with John Smith in person!


W e are delighted to ask you to join us for tea and home baked cake at the second Flat Screens screening & conversation on May 29th,

from 7 – 9pm. FREE

Please rsvp as there is limited seating via Studio 75, Hebden Court, and

Looking forward to seeing you!

John Smith was born in Walthamstow, East London in 1952 and studied film at the Royal College of Art. Inspired by the Structural Materialist ideas which dominated British artists’ filmmaking during his formative years, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed a body of work which deftly subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Drawing upon the raw material of everyday life, Smith's meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema. Since 1972 John Smith has made over fifty film, video and installation works that have been shown in cinemas, art galleries and on television around the world and awarded major prizes at many international film festivals.

Hackney Marshes [30min] 1978
Amongst other things Hackney Marshes is a document of public housing 43 years on from Housing Problems. It eloquently depicts the High Rise Phase and its contingent problems. This naively rolled out programme prioritized high density, at the time considered as the universal solution to the problem of public housing.
In addition Hackney Marshes is a film that plays with visual representation. John Smith continuously undermines taken for granted truths and simple solutions and invites the viewer to be critical of the images they are presented with.

The Girl Chewing Gum [12min] 1976 
"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"  Michael Maziere, ‘Undercut’ magazine 1984

Blight [14 min] 1994-96

Blight was made in collaboration with the composer Jocelyn Pook. It revolves around the building of the M11 Link Road in East London, which provoked a long and bitter campaign by local residents to protect their homes from demolition. The images in the film record some of the changes which occurred in the area over a two-year period, from the demolition of houses through to the start of motorway building work. The soundtrack incorporates natural sounds associated with these events together with speech fragments taken from recorded conversations with local people.

Although it is entirely constructed from records of real events, Blight is not a straightforward documentary. The film exploits the ambiguities of its material to produce new meanings and metaphors, frequently fictionalizing reality through framing and editing strategies. The emotive power of music is used in the film to overtly aid this invention.

+ surprise film

For more information about Andrea Luka Zimmerman, see: