A linear narrative is fundamental to most mainstream filmmaking, whether fiction or documentary. Artists are inclined to break this rule, frustrating expectations and denying resolution. 

Films showing in this section: 

14:02 - Matt Hulse Take Me Home 1998
14:08 - John Smith Gargantuan 1992
14:10 - Len Lye ‘N or NW 1937
14:18 - John Smith The Girl Chewing Gum 1976
14:30 - Adrian Brunel Brunel and Montagu 1928
14:32 - Ian Bourn The End of the World (Don’t You Just Know It?) 1982

Matt Hulse Take Me Home 1998

7 minutes. Collection: Lux 

Matt Hulse’s chain of free associations and non-sequitors evokes the spirit of Dada, and the silent era film comedies of Mack Sennett. 

Biography:

Matt Hulse was born in 1968. He studied at the University of Reading and Duncan of Jordanstone College, Dundee. While making his own low budget films he worked with George Snow on 3D computer animation and attended the video dance workshop run by Elliott Caplan of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation. He gained a Creative Scotland Award in 2001. 

John Smith Gargantuan 1992

1 minute. Collection: Lux 

John Smith’s film unwinds slowly - within a single camera movement and the strict time-limit of one minute. Commissioned by BBC 2’s The Late Show

Biography:

John Smith was born in 1952. He studied at Hornsey College of Art, North East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. He teaches at University of East London and Central St Martins. Smith’s early wry takes on structural film have given way to works that blend documentary and elements of fiction and introspection; his wit equally apparent in image and word. 

Len Lye ‘N or NW 1937

8 minutes. Collection: Consignia (GPO

This is a public information film made using amateur actors. Within these confines, Len Lye breaks the conventions of camera position and editing, and weaves together a narrative from dispersed and fragmented shots. 

Biography:

Len Lye was born in Christchurch New Zealand in 1901. He studied at Wellington Technical Institute and Canterbury College of Art (NZ). In London, he exhibited with the Seven and Five Society and at the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition, and designed bookjackets for Robert Graves and Laura Riding. The success of A Colour Box 1936 led to commissions from the GPO and other advertisers. He moved to New York in 1944 to work for the March of Time. Post War, he self-funded films, and exhibited kinetic sculpture. He died in New York in 1980. 

John Smith The Girl Chewing Gum 1976

12 minutes. Collection: Lux 

In a film made 16 years before Gargantuan shown earlier in this sequence, John Smith causes viewers to doubt the expected authority of the voice-over. 

Biography:

John Smith was born in 1952. He studied at Hornsey College of Art, North East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. He teaches at University of East London and Central St Martins. Smith’s early wry takes on structural film have given way to works that blend documentary and elements of fiction and introspection; his wit equally apparent in image and word. 

Adrian Brunel Brunel and Montagu 1928

1 minute. Collection: BFI National Film & Television Archive 

In the mid 1920s Adrian Brunel and Ivor Montagu started a film editing company known informally as Brunel and Montage. Brunel and Montagu is a one-joke skit illustrating their reaction to the imminent arrival of talking pictures. Their company was out of business within a year, killed, so Brunel felt, by the coming of sound. 

Biography:

Adrian Brunel was born in 1892. A founder of The Film Society, he made short experimental films and later features. His autobiography Nice Work - Thirty Years in British Films was published in 1949. He died in 1958. Ivor Montagu was born in 1904. A founder of the Film Society and the Communist Party’s Progressive Film Institute, his interests took him to the La Sarraz meeting of the international film avant-garde in 1929, and to Hollywood and Mexico with Eisenstein. He assisted Hitchcock and produced Norman McLaren’s Defence of Madrid (1936), and was the first film critic of The Observer and The New Statesman. He died in 1984. 

Ian Bourn The End of the World (Don’t You Just Know It?) 1982

10 minutes. Collection: Lux 

The End of The World is almost a parody of ‘serious’ TV plays with their existential angst which once inundated British television. Through camera framing, dialogue and a supremely good ear for the language of lower middle-class life, Bourn gives us a bilious, funny and understated view of ourselves.’. Michael O’Pray 1988 

Biography:

Ian Bourn was born in 1953. He studied at Ealing College of Art and Royal College of Art, London. He was a co-instigator of Housewatch - a group of artists who came together in 1985 to create architectural environments filled with projected moving images. The wry humour and deadpan delivery characteristic of Bourn’s single-screen work have led to his involvement as a writer-performer in films by John Smith and Paul Bush. He has also published text works.