The Black Tower (1985-87)
Directed by John Smith
Run Time: 24 mins
An absurd yet sinister tale of a man who finds himself haunted by a mysterious black tower that appears to follow him wherever he goes.
“Smith’s ‘accidental horror’ film wears its constructivist tricks as a primary-coloured cloak around the barest of wireframe figures […] Enchanting and good-humoured, the fractured realism and creeping terror of The Black Tower tells a singular story of architectural horror and madness worthy of the ungovernable geographies of Machen, Welles, or Lovecraft, situating itself firmly in the quotidian grit of Thatcher’s Britain. Constantly pointing to its own telling, as well as the mode and method of that telling, Smith’s film questions the viewer’s own certainty even as the narrator loses theirs — at the same time challenging not only the veracity of the film but also the viewer’s complacency watching it.” – Thogdin Ripley, The Quietus, October 2017
Directed by John Smith
Composed by Jocelyn Pook
Run Time: 14 mins
Format: HD video from 16mm
Filmmaker John Smith and composer Jocelyn Pook’s avant-garde collaboration casts an eerie, primary coloured light on the mid 1990s construction of the M11 Link Road in London—a project that ignited a spirited campaign by residents to shield their homes from demolition.
“Smith’s beautiful elegy for East London homes destroyed to build the M11 Link Road interweaves voices of the evicted and demolition footage to a dramatic score by Jocelyn Pook. Masterful editing introduces warning flash frames of red, green and blue to the thud of bricks, which mount to streaks of colour as figurative details of domestic life are subsumed by mechanistic force. Smith lets graffiti on the remnant homes narrate the protest, leaving us haunted by one resident’s voice: ‘It has a living energy of itself. That house has a spirit’. Blight reverberates now as a plangent plea to stop destroying our planet home and to design more earth-centred dialogue between architecture, infrastructure and community, beyond our speed and growth dependency.” – Cherry Smith, exhibition brochure for Hidden in Plain Site, Stephen Lawrence Gallery, 2022
Accompanying each of Smith’s films on the evening will be live readings of two short ghost stories – in celebration of all that is spooky and strange.
Evenings with DADo offer an intimate commingling of film and conversation, centred around diverse historical and contemporary stories of architecture, design, landscape and urbanism. Feature-length films, documentaries, shorts and animations all find a home in Robin Boyd’s living room at Walsh Street, the social, energetic hub of the Robin Boyd Foundation designed in 1957. Guest speakers contribute unique perspectives on the various film subjects, kicking off the living room conversation in a home which decidedly sought to reject convention.
DADo’s 2023 program is presented by Thandi Lane, Rebecca Roke and Andrew MacKinnon.
Doors will open at 6.30 pm to allow attendees to explore Walsh Street and enjoy refreshments in the courtyard. The screening will commence promptly at 7 pm.