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John Smith (film) - Tate Britain - The Girl Chewing Gum

  • Face it most people can't bear to watch film in an art gallery - as you could see from the person I saw wander into the room and walk straight back out again when they saw it was a film. The three people lurking in the auditorium when I entered stayed a moment and wandered off and didn't wait for the film to end - but I think they missed out on something.



    Frankly the film is pretty annoying mostly and there's a really irritating alarm bell ringing throughout the film which basically shows people wandering up and down a street and has a voice over that seems to predict what the people are doing or perhaps is directing them. This is all fine but nothing special, but what I really liked was when the narrator suddenly stopped talking about the action in the film and instead explained where he was, a few miles from the action in a field shouting into a microphone. 



    This kind of magic - and I mean magic is what art shoud be about. Suddenly you were still watching this boring street with a few events but also at the same time you were transported in your imagination to this field and it was like space and time were interrupted for a moment and they were broken apart and you were shuttling back and forth.


    The film ended showing this field and the cows in it - and the grainy black and white print had a poetic quality to it like the poetic black and white moments in the film If... The black and white film of the hedgerows suddenly took on a poignancy that felt almost rich with the colours of the English countryside.