British New Wave: Oliver Payne and Nick Relph

  • Matthew Higgs from ICA (In Person)
  • Friday, April 6, 8 pm
  • @ Cinecycle, 129 Spadina Ave.

Part of Winter 2001

A co-presentation with Mercer Union

Working collaboratively, Oliver Payne and Nick Relph make films that approximate the language of documentary filmmaking. Embracing documentary’s inevitable recourse to dramatize reality, Payne and Relph set about creating densely layered filmic essays that chart the ebb and flow of London’s urban and suburban malaise. Driftwood (1999) is set within the geographical limits of Central London, a tightly scripted drive through the concrete jungle, witnessed through the sidewalk lens of its skateboarding narrator. Rejecting Le Corbusier’s call for a regimented social milieu Driftwood revels in the psychological potholes of a London struggling to embrace the future yet burdened by the legacy of its past. House & Garage (2000) adopts a more intuitive, often contradictory style reminiscent of the late Derek Jarman’s short films, House & Garage kaleidoscopic spectrum mirrors the social unease of its disenfranchised subjects. Wistfully melancholic, often hilarious, House & Garage acts as a rite of passage for its youthful constituents, climaxing with reverse footage of a millennial firework display played out over a barely audible take on the Sex Pistols’ No Future. (Matthew Higgs)

Matthew Higgs, curator at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, will be on hand to introduce the work of these rising British film stars and speak on the “precocious depth and reckless ambition” of Oliver Payne and Nick Relph.

“Oliver Payne and Nick Relph’s astonishingly romantic aesthetic is necessarily a work-in-progress, shifting forms organically and seducing at every turn – from the Keiller-referencing Driftwood, to the asymmetrical, overpowering lyricsm of House & Garage. Jungle marks the completion of a trilogy that explores (anti)Englishness, subverting and reclaiming a rare emotional territory.” (Lux Centre)
Jungle was recently premiered at the Pandaemonium Biennial of Moving Images 2001 at the Lux Centre in London.