Monday, 9 December 2013

Monthly Film: PILLS 03:20:00

This month (well, three months in that already seems a bit arbitrary, but anyway), the monthly film is an old favourite that always went down really well at our Playing With Time screenings: Pills 03:20:00.

Back in 2000 we were making a number of projects to do with happiness.  I’d been keeping a list in my notebook of “Modern Pills”, just the titles, things that sounded like they would be useful. I took them in to the making process for Where From Here, and Rachael and Jerry improvised explanations of them – like a TV show. It was funny, but it was like a TV show.

Where From Here is constructed around a series of stories and descriptions of the rooms those stories take place in, told by one performer/character in turn, in order to implicate the other. Jerry came in the next day with a short speech that would work as a solo intro to the Pills sequence – suggesting that they were something the man enjoyed on his own.

For a while we experimented with projecting images of the pills onto the white set, but as the show became lower tech projection was ruled out. But we liked the pictures of the pills, so they became a piece in their own right, Pills For Modern Living, with the text borrowing from the show.

When we came to document the whole piece, we made a full length video of it (90 minutes), and then Chris suggested we make another stand-alone short. We asked him what we had in mind.

Over to Chris:
Alex has just asked me to write a couple of hundred words about Pills. There are quite a lot of facts about the how and the why of this film that we’ve shared over the years, at screenings, in articles and within lectures.  
Here are some bits and bobs about the film that I’ve kept to myself until now: 
From the very first time I saw Jerry do the monologue on stage I thought to myself – that’s a good monologue but I could put it into better order. In all of the stage shows since I've actively looked for monologues which I could adapt into something similar. I’ve only tried it once and that film was screened once (it didn’t work).  
With Pills 03:20:00, and the other two films which have their length in timecode as part of their titles, I genuinely hoped would start a fashion for that kind of titling.  
I’ve never known whether they are real drugs or whether he’s taking the piss out of her.  
The sound design is directly influenced by the title track of the Prince album Lovesexy, and the visuals are influenced by an experimental film that a fellow student made at film school, where a mans heads was shot through a lens with a stocking stretched over it.  
For many years if you'd asked me what the main colour was, I would have said yellow. Until a few years ago I was always surprised when I saw it was blue, and then I would remember all the other times when I'd surprised myself by misremembering. 
For the record, the visuals were achieved (I think) in the end by Chris re-shooting the footage of a TV monitor in the edit suite – possibly onto VHS, or even VHS-C. I seem to remember that VHS was in play a fair bit back then.


Pills 03:20:00

Performed by Jeremy Killick (with Rachael Walton in there briefly)
Text by Alexander Kelly, Jeremy Killick & Rachael Walton
Directed by Christopher Hall, Alexander Kelly & Rachael Walton
Edited by Christopher Hall
Soundtrack by Christopher Hall, David Mitchell & Lee Sykes

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