Have You Seen My Movie?London Film Festival 2016
13th October 2016 6.00pm at Prince Charles Cinema
15th October 2016 12.00pm at Curzon Soho
Cinema is a shrine to ego. And it’s the hushed congregation of movie worshippers that this film celebrates.
Paul Anton Smith, collaborator with Christian Marclay on The Clock, explores the intimacy of the auditorium through video excerpts ranging from major blockbusters to indie treasures. It’s an unusual perspective: the lens of focus is trained keenly on how we experience cinema, and the way that event is portrayed.
Explored in a hazy thematic chronology, we’re fed a torrent of images that blur between the glory days of the silver screen, to the comparatively duller present. From buying a ticket, to raunchy back-of-the-auditorium exploits, Smith lovingly pieces together footage that shows the evolution of a favourite pastime. It’s a fascinating look at how cinema has evolved historically from its theatrical roots – an interval with ice cream and an organ singalong make Vue and IMAX seem comparatively boring – to the more casual event it’s subsequently developed into.
While appearing incoherent at times, the focal point for Have You Seen My Movie? is the ritual of movie-going, and explores it from a performative and experiential perspective. This montage revels in its ability to simply show, lending a decidedly innocent feeling to proceedings, expertly sidestepping the trap of telling its audience what to think, and allowing cinephiles to really enjoy the ride. The more playful elements of the film are borne from extremely sharp editing, and when coupled with baby-faced actors making their screen debut, becomes an enjoyable and nostalgic encounter. This is developed further as we begin to comprehend the themes of shared experiences and unique outlooks, with every audience member seeing something new. In spite of the rather haphazard appearance, Have You Seen My Movie? is awash with skilful editing, and the more you watch, you appreciate Smith’s vast knowledge and meticulous research.
Regardless of being a vague pastiche of Marclay’s The Clock, the Toronto native Smith manages to successfully hold his own as a creator and artist in his big screen debut, which is already on its way to prestige. Have You Seen My Movie? is a deeply personal affair, and leaves you reminiscing about your own (misspent) times in a velveteen upholstered chair, at the back of a dark room. It’s a surprisingly simple idea, well executed and very evocative.
Have You Seen My Movie? does not have a UK release date yet.
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Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch an interview with Paul Anton Smith here: