Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"Gorgeous imagery is at once sense and senseless, transporting and troubling, riddle and rhythm." | Photo: Glasgow Short Film Festival

A triptych shot around Glassmount House, including the follies and studio of Peter McLaren, this Daniel Cook film received what was described as a première at the Blueprint Shorts screening at Glasgow's 2019 Short Film Festival.

Cook's film The King & I won last year's Hilton Earl Memorial Award, this piece which includes performances from art company Stasis, music from Fergus Cook (of, amongst other projects, Stillhound), and gorgeous imagery is at once sense and senseless, transporting and troubling, riddle and rhythm.

A version of the piece (I cannot in good conscience say it was the same) was exhibited at Broughton Street's Embassy Gallery in summer of 2018, and the line between video art and short film is as much about projection from the audience as to how it is projected for audience. In the Blueprint screening which was in part focussed on the particular lines in which the apparatus of cinema distinguishes it as an art (see also Oscar arguments about when prizes are awarded), it stood as a sterling example. In three frames some sets of things happen.

Shoes lie roadside. A wing-mirror tooth-pick. Silent telephone conversations. Heavy bag dragged. Tall topiary towers. Stoic tabletop lions. Icy artistic regard. Paired birds caged. Movement between frames. Scenes considered multiply. The camera roves. Images like crystals. Night sits brake-lit. Ballard would blush.

There's at once more and less going on in in other films where visual splendour invites speculation as to action. It's more than the crunch of ice that reminded me of Upstream Colour. The name of the place is Glassmount, but there's a sense of early photography, of microscopic consideration. Both the still and the dissected are perhaps forms of display, as much about surface as the cairns of firewood, the smoke in the glass-house. There are no mantlepieces here for consequence to hang over, no inevitability of combustion as clear as the quarry construction of Mandy, nothing as uncertain as one pair of roadside shoes being replaced with another. The eye darts less smoothly than the camera. Any individual in the audience can look at only one place at once. Glassmount invites us to try to see more.

Reviewed on: 15 Mar 2019
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A triptych of documentary images play simultaneously, united by the same geographical space but offering both complementary and contradictory narrative clues as to what is really going on.

Director: Daniel Cook

Year: 2019

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: UK


GSFF 2019

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