John Smith: The Man Making Film

A 20-film celebration of the work of the English experimental filmmaker John Smith.

Deeply rooted in London’s East End, John Smith has been creating playful experimental movies for 50 years in all shapes and sizes: from the one-minute Gargantuan and Record, to the epic video series Hotel Diaries, to the satirical Shepherd's Delight and the musical city symphony Blight. An obsession with objects crops up again and again in Smith's body of work, where his witty interrogations of everyday items blossom into poetic metaphors for various aspects of the human condition itself, whether that be the aeroplane safety card of A State of Grace or the painting tools of Dad's Stick. His 1976 film The Girl Chewing Gum, perhaps the clearest distillation of his lifelong interest in undermining all authority figures, including himself as director, is widely acknowledged as a classic of the British avant-garde.

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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