LOOK is proud to announce the screening of one of the early and most influential films of avant-guard British filmmaker John Smith. The Girl Chewing Gum is capturing the comings and goings of a busy street corner on a gray day in Hackney, London in 1976. It is Smith's voiceover that transforms the documented incidental events into something fictional and constructed.
"Like many other film works made by British artists in the 1970’s, ‘The Girl Chewing Gum’ was made in ideological opposition to mainstream cinema. A primary aim of the film was to undermine its inherent illusionism, drawing attention to its own artifice (rather than the conventional practice of attempting to disguise it). The film draws attention to the cinematic apparatus by denying its existence, treating representation as an absolute reality in its own right. It achieves this by using a voice-over to subvert the reading of the image, marking the beginnings of my ongoing love/hate relationship with the power of the word." – John Smith, 2007
"In The Girl Chewing Gum a commanding voice over appears to direct the action in a busy London street. As the instructions become more absurd and fantasised, we realise that the supposed director (not the shot) is fictional; he only describes – not prescribes – the events that take place before him. Smith embraced the ‘spectre of narrative’ (suppressed by structural film), to play word against picture and chance against order. Sharp and direct, the film anticipates the more elaborate scenarios to come; witty, many-layered, punning, but also seriously and poetically haunted by drama’s ineradicable ghost." – A.L. Rees, A Directory of British Film & Video Artists, 1995
"Smith takes the piss out of mainstream auteurist ego, but provides proof of the underground ethos: Even with meagre mechanical means, the artist can command the universe." – Ed Halter, Village Voice, 2003
Opening: 7 June 2016 - 7 p.m. | Fekete Kutya, 31 Dob utca, 1075 Budapest | open: 24/7