As an addendum to my first blog  I would like to post a link to a film I made when I was studying at Derby University for a B.A. in Film  back in the early 1990’s. The film in question is called “Naked Flame” and was shot on 16mm film two weeks before final submission in my final year.

The reason I want to post this film is because I really like it. This is not arrogance, though, as much of what I make these days doesn’t move me and most of the time I feel as though I am tied up by invisible restrictions  that I am barely even aware of.

Here is the film…

“Naked Flame”, although far from perfect, has a very interesting poetic structure and seems to be following different rules to the linear narrative-driven mainstream approach to filmmaking. What I also like about the film is the ambiguous nature of both the narrator  who is he? who does he speak for?)  and of the skewed sense of place which the film offers us.   Most films try to appear to be firmly located in a knowable objective universe, offering the viewer a clear sense of place, location and spatiality, while this film revels in illogicality and spatial inconsistency.

Another reason I wanted to post this film  is because I would like to use this blog to somehow find a way to understand how it was I came to make this film in the first place. This might sound a bit odd given that I wrote and shot the piece, but to be honest I always saw the film as a minor miracle and have only the vaguest recollections as to how it took the shape it did.

What I do remember about making the film (and why I call it a minor miracle) was being very unsure of what I was doing, following only the vaguest of artistic hunches from ideation right through to editing. As I write this now I can clearly see myself sitting at the Steinbeck 16mm editing suite back in Derby tentatively chopping up the expensive (for a struggling student)  strips of 16mm film and being so distraught and angry with myself for each potentially ruinous new cut that I threw away all my footage in despair. However, as I salvaged the film and threaded it back onto the editing console I made a mistake and put in the  pieces of footage in the wrong order and in an instant was shocked and amazed to see that the film had rejigged itself surreptitiously into the order it is now in today. I can also clearly remember that it was only a few more hours work to permanently settle on a final sequence.

photo (1)

I am also adding a couple of paintings I made that year (1991) (nothing to do with my degree or anything really) which have the same interesting surreal, mosaic-like structure which I feel is at the heart of the film “Naked Flame” and which I would like to rediscover.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *