MORE BRITISH SOUNDS

video, color, 8 minutes, 2006


DESCRIPTION

    In More British Sounds images from The British Are Coming (1986) collide with dialogue from See You at Mao (1969) also known as British Sounds, produced by the Dziga Vertov Group under the direction of Jean-Luc Godard.  “Workers have come to expect too much,” a narrator intones, as an English lad in a state of undress polishes the boots of a royal guard in full uniform.  The soundtrack consists of a speech from British Sounds layered four times in the structure of a round.  Gaps in the dialogue – filled by Godard’s heavy breathing in the original – allow certain key phrases to be heard in the chaos.  The super-reactionary spouting venom must have seemed horrendous and absurd in the late 1960s, but his line was practically adopted as policy in early 21st Century America.  The fetishistic sports underwear, skinhead tattoos, and bad boy snarls have been widely adopted as well.

 

SHOWS

Filmforum, Los Angeles; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; InsideOut, Toronto; The New Festival, New York; Mix New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Home Works IV, Beirut, Lebanon; Queer City Cinema, Regina, Saskatchewan; Cinematexas Eulogy, Aurora Picture Show, Houston; History Keeps Me Awake at Night: A Genealogy of Wojnarowicz, P.P.O.W Gallery, New York; Fruit Farm Film Festival, McMinnville, Oregon; Agenda: Queering Popular Media, Current Gallery, Baltimore; Screwball Asses, The Company, Los Angeles; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Anthology Film Archives, New York

 

REVIEW

Johnny Ray Huston, “Underworld Meets Underground: William E. Jones Uncovers Hidden Stories in Porn’s Dark Edges,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, vol. 41, no. 20 (February 14-20, 2007) p. 57.

    More British Sounds possesses an overtly argumentative politicism. Jones matches images from the 1986 gay porn movie The British Are Coming with a soundtrack of uncannily current posh snob remarks from the Jean-Luc Godard–directed Dziga Vertov Group’s 1969 movie See You at Mao, a.k.a. British Sounds.  Class warfare and sexual cannibalism are stripped bare, teased with a whip, tattooed, suckled, and showered in a mere eight minutes.  To paraphrase Jones, More British Sounds counters the complete lack of homosexuality in Godard’s films, rephrasing the French auteur’s famous remark that all you need to make a film is a girl and a gun — in this case all you need are some boys and a locker room.