Girl Chewing Gum, The

Rental Format(s): 16mm film / Digital File

"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 fantasized, we realize that the supposed director (not the shot) is fictional; he only describes - not prescribes - the events that take place before him. Smith embraced the 'spectra 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

"Self-reflexivity is another Brit kick, semi-spoofed in The Girl Chewing Gum (1976), in which artist John Smith directs street-level passersby via post-synched voice-over, then bids buildings and the sun to move through the frame. Smith takes the piss out of mainstream auteurist ego, but provides proof of the underground ethos: Even with meager mechanical means, the artist can command the universe." -- Ed Halter, Village Voice

"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, Undercut

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

Rental Fees

16mm film $48.00  
Digital File $48.00  

Rent this Film