John Smith. The Black Tower and Slow Glass

Attended by the filmmaker

John Smith

In the films in this session, John Smith ranges East London, cataloguing and collecting fragments of urban landscapes, imprecise wastelands that take on mysterious meanings. This is not the first time the English filmmaker explores the topography of these spaces, filming them with his strange, teasing approach. He’s done it before and he’ll do it again, always tempting the limits of what we understand by documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction.

In The Black Tower, John Smith transforms a simple industrial building into a terrifying ruin. Presenting this architecture from different viewpoints and adding a monologue, he draws us into the world of a man pursued by a tower in London. The imaginary correspondence between voice and image creates a mise en abyme, a kind of phantasm with the capacity to question the cinematographic act.

Slow Glass, meanwhile, begins with the nostalgic dreams of a glassmaker, reflecting on the transformation of the city and the disappearance of artisan techniques. The film’s images and words offer a melancholic gauge of slow, imperceptible changes in the urban landscape. At the same time, in its treatment of vision and optics, it creates a simile between glassmaking and film creation.

The Black Tower, 1985-87, 16 mm, 24 min

Slow Glass, 1988-91, 16 mm, 40 min

Digital screening. Catalan subtitles.

Copies courtesy of John Smith.

A programme by Celeste Araújo and Oriol Sánchez.

30 January 2020


The Auditorium
Admission fee

4 € / 3 € Concessions

5-session pass: 15 € / 12 € Concessions

Friends of the CCCB: free of charge

CCCB ticket offices ( 933064100) and