John Smith
‘The Black Tower’, 1985-1987
16 mm film, colour, sound; 24 mins
Edition of 5 + 2 AP
SMITH-2009-0008

"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, 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 ‘The Black 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