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The Black Tower

John Smith

UK, 1985 - 1987
26 minutes, colour, opt, 4:3
Original format: 16mm film
Available formats: 16mm / BluRay / HD Digital file / DVD / Digibeta tape / SD Digital file

In The Black Tower we enter the world of a man haunted by a tower which, he believes, is following him around London. While the character of the central protagonist is indicated only by a narrative voice-over which takes us from unease to breakdown to mysterious death, the images, meticulously controlled and articulated, deliver a series of colour coded puzzles, games, jokes and puns which pull the viewer into a mind-teasing engagement. Smith’s assurance and skill as a filmmaker undercuts the notion of the avant-garde as dry, unprofessional and dull and in Tower we have an example of a film which plays with the emotions as well as the language of film.’ – Nik Houghton, Independent Media.

The Black Tower expands the core of Smith’s interests: chiefly, the image as a filmic fact which is constantly questioned and often undermined by language and soundtrack. Like his earlier films, The Black Tower is concerned with description, but this time framed by a story whose undertow of melancholy balances its wit and wry humour, and which is a remarkable fiction in its own right.’ – A.L. Rees.

‘The hilarious and slightly menacing The Black Tower is one of the most accomplished films to come from the British avant-garde for years.’ – Michael O’Pray, Independent Media.