Film

Early 8mm Work

A number of short experimental films on 8mm, including some stop frame animation.

Tumour

8mm, black and white, soundtrack, 8 minutes. Directed by David Gamez. Starring Norbert Anderson.
An expressionistic film about self hatred. A man grows a tumour on his forehead and dies when he tries to cut it off.

Still from the film Tumour

Figure 1. Still from the film Tumour

Slab

16mm, black and white, soundtrack, 22 minutes. Directed by David Gamez. Starring Norbert Anderson.
Film about an alienated serial killer who rapes and murders his victims. Shot around North Wales with a crew of 3 people.

Flyer for the Slab Trilogy

Figure 2. Flyer featuring still from the film Slab

Celebration

16mm, black and white, silent, 10 minutes. Directed by David Gamez. Starring Ravi Agarwal
A joyful film about transgression inspired by Bataille and Nietzsche.

Still from the film Celebration

Figure 3. Still from the film Celebration

Lung

Video, 20 minutes, 1995. Directed and featuring David Gamez, Justin Jin and Giles Thomas
A film about fictitious performance art pieces around Cambridge.

Still from the film Lung Still from the film Lung

Figure 4. Stills from the film Lung

The film received the following review in the student newspaper Varsity:

The latest addition to the saga of Cambridge film-making is a particularly strange one. Lung is the brain-child of Justin King (Peterhouse), Giles Thomas (Trinity) and David Gamez (Trinity) - conceived and executed in a mere week, using a Hi-8 video camera, for the bargain price of 100. Fragmented, hallucinatory, baffling, challenging, stylistically varied and sporadically shocking - the film offers a bizarre interplay of beauty and ugliness. It presents a "poetic" collage of various performance activities derived from the work of underground art groups. The results are certainly "interesting": two young men in khakis desecrate the corpses of a pair of quails, holding them over gas flames and drilling through their eye, to the accompaniment of a raucous rock track; a young man creates a work of art from his own vomit on a piece of paper; a kaleidoscope of naked males pose weirdly in a forest. The film's soundtrack is dense and layered, with several tracks competing for attention at any one time - voices intertwine, generating a tangle of words from which a variety of meanings can be extracted. The connecting thread is a seventeenth century track on the human lung and its diseases - used here as a metaphor for art and its contamination by society.

The various segments of the film are bound together by a common theme, namely the possibility of the elimination of the spectator from the processes of art. In one scene, performers sit naked on the ADC stage, frenziedly masturbating to recitations of Nietzsche, facing rows of empty seats. A montage shows performers in various spatial tableux in locations around Cambridge, as oblivious crowds stroll by. Lung is a film demanding a great deal of intellectual engagement and should be applauded as such. However, one can't help feeling that an appreciative audience will be hard to find, and that the film-makers will be finding themselves under fire for their pretensions. After all, a film about the exclusion of the audience is a strange thing to confront audiences with. Formally, the film suffers from the same elitism attendant upon high modernism and its purported desire to re-create an autonomous space for art smacks of anachronism. Its technical shortcomings are the unfortunate concomitants of a low budget and shotgun shooting schedule - a shame as they occasionally render challengingly complex scenes completely opaque and incomprehensible. Nevertheless, its themes of change and transformation are impressively articulated; and the absence of classical narrative structure is refreshing. Lung - flawed but interesting, repellent yet haunting, pretentious yet brave - deserves, ironically enough, an audience. And at a running time of 20 minutes, no-one could accuse the makers of excessive time-wasting, at any rate.

Iua Gregory and Andy Richards