Top Spot

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Sarah Artt

Read Sarah Artt's film review of Top Spot

Tracey Emin provides an audio commentary, in which she views Top Spot as an object in flux, discussing plans for extended scenes, or even entirely different endings and beginnings, where other director commentaries discuss their film as a closed text, rarely referring to alternate plans, or expressing dissatisfaction with the final work. Oddly, the scenes that are the most shocking, in terms of their content, are the ones she avoids talking about, saying they are horrible and uncomfortable to watch and viewers should simply turn away. It's unclear from her tone as to whether this is merely a device to outmanoeuvre her detractors.

However, there are moments when the commentary provides insight that shifts one's initial impression. Towards the end of the film, five remaining characters sit on a bench, discussing the fate of their sixth classmate. Silently, each girl paints her thumbnail bright pink, an action that Emin says is meant to evoke their collective sense of self-preservation, which is an idea I like, and this observation enhanced my enjoyment of the scene.

The DVD also includes an earlier short film of Emin's, Riding For A Fall, and a rather charming outtake, entitled Costumes, where she tests the believability of the cast's schoolgirl outfits by having them attempt to get served in a local pub.

Riding For A Fall is like an anti-music video, with a surly, bra-clad Emin riding a donkey in circles on Margate beach to a reggae tune. In her commentary, she mentions the importance of music and how she carefully chose each song for its personal connection to her life and how lyrics act alongside and sometimes replace dialogue.

Top Spot and Riding For A Fall share a beach setting, with its predominance of dusky light. Emin, in her bra, is clearly meant to be provocative, undermined by the lack of an alluring expression, as well as the comedic impact of an adult riding a donkey. She wears a cowboy hat, recalling something of the lone drifter of a classic Western, evoking the idea that as a celebrity she is isolated and that fame and success may be lost as quickly as it is found.

Also included among the special features is a 2003 interview on Margate beach. Emin talks frankly with the unseen interviewer about her childhood and early sexual experiences that she also discusses in her autobiography, Strangeland, and in the film Top Spot.

Reviewed on: 19 May 2006
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Top Spot packshot
Memories of abuse and teenage dreams in Margate by the artist Tracey Emin.
Amazon link

Product Code: TVD3633

Region: 2

Ratio: 4:3

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround/Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo/DTS 5.1 Surround

Extras: Tracey Emin commentary; short film - Riding For A Fall; Tracey Emin interview; deleted scenes; alternative ending; film notes; Tartan trailer reel

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