1996 | 00:14:00 | United Kingdom | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Activism, City, European Film/Video, Landscape, Memory, Music, Politics, Sound

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"Blight was made in collaboration with composer Jocelyn Pook. It revolves around the building of the M11 Link Road in East London, which provoked a long and bitter campaign by local residents to protect their homes from demolition. Until 1994, when our houses were destroyed, both the composer and I lived on the route of this road. The images in the film are a selective record of some of the changes which occurred in the area over a two-year period, from the demolition of houses through to the start of motorway building work. The soundtrack incorporates natural sounds associated with these events together with speech fragments taken from recorded conversations with local people. Although the film is entirely constructed from records of real events, Blight is not a straightforward documentary. The film constructs stories from unconnected fragments of sound and image, bringing disparate reminiscences and contemporary events together. Like much of my earlier work, Blight exploits the ambiguities of its material to produce new meanings and metaphors, fictionalizing reality through framing and editing strategies. The emotive power of music is used in the film to overtly aid this invention, investing mundane images with artificial importance. A specific 'real' context for the depicted events only becomes apparent at the end of the film. What is presented is simultaneously fact and fiction."

—John Smith

This title is also available on John Smith: Program 2.

Prizes + Awards

Prix Regional and Youth Film Prize, 43rd Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Germany, 1997

Best European Short Film, 42nd Cork International Film Festival, Ireland

Gold Plaque for Best Experimental Film awarded by the International Jury, 33rd Chicago International Film Festival

Audience Prize for Best Film, 2nd Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Thailand

and more