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Calling Mr. Smith

Stefan and Franciszka Themerson
1943
10 mins Colour 35 mm

Calling Mr. Smith

'...a tragic film-dream which is at the same time a document, a settlement of accounts, a forecast, a cry and a continuous stream of poetry.'
Urszula Czartoryska (1981)

'The main ingredient in Calling Mr. Smith was actual photography and film footage shot as war documents. Series of photographs were combined with appropriate fragments of film and appeared on the screen accompanied by flashes of coloured lights.

The objective of the authors — the indictment of the Nazis for the extermination of culture was presented by means of the amorphous method of narration; the abstracted assemblages, the fragmented newsclips showing the atrocities of war, and the interplay of surfaces and colour areas. Musical illustration was provided with fragments of pieces from Chopin, Bach and Szymanowski which were dramatically contrasted with the infamous hymn of Hitler's legions — the Horst Wessel Lied — acoustically distorted.'
Janusz Zagrodzki 'Outsiders of the Avant-Garde'. Stefan i Franciszka, Visual Researches, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi 1981.

Made while the Themersons were working with The Polish Film Unit of the Ministry of Information and Documentation, Polish Government in exile, London.

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