Untitled #1: KEVIN SMITH / by James Merrigan

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DIT student Kevin Smith is the recipient of the RHA School Graduate Studio Award 2017. As part of a panel consisting of Colin Martin (RHA School Principal) and Ruth Carroll (RHA Curator), I wrote this in response to Kevin Smith’s film Love in Technicolour
 

Immediately we are pulled into the fractured psyche of a young man as he aggressively performs the social rituals that young men often endure. Kevin Smith’s long-haired protagonist in his short film Love in Technicolour is a contemporary ‘Samson’ who looks too pretty and self-possessed to be self-punishing until he shears off his own locks on film. Existing in limbo between hope and hangover, the ever-present props of party hat and lipstick-smeared mirror become insidious reminders throughout the film that the past is a predictor of future behaviour.

Every scene is physical. Every moment is felt. Every cutaway beautifully crafted and psychologically charged. In one unforgettable sequence we follow the young man down a back alley and look on helplessly as he cracks open a six pack and proceeds to inhale one can after another after another to the point of vomiting.

But it’s not all angst-ridden behaviour; there’s self-aware humour here too. One morning he wakes up to a makeup transfer of his own face on a pillow. The next morning the visual poetry of cinematic filmmaking is upended when the camera pans across a bedroom to reveal that the dust dancing delicately through a shaft of light is caused by the young man spraying deodorant.

As a visceral and believable exercise in confessional filmmaking, performance and storytelling, Kevin Smith’s Love in Technicolour demonstrates control over the medium, commitment to a poetic register and heart-pumping physicality. Breathtakingly believable.


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