Richard Heslop’s Floating

Barbara Hammer’s Living Cinema
September 1, 2012
Abstract, experimental, hypnotic: Fischinger & Sharits
September 4, 2012
By Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais
You are more than likely familiar with Richard Heslop’s work, he was the director of classic music videos for bands such as The Smiths, The Cure, New Order and the Happy Mondays. Richard’s jittery camera style came to define the look of music videos in the 80’s and 90’s which was often imitated but rarely matched by other filmmakers. This style, which he developed primarily as a way to make a reel of film go as far as possible, is achieved by shooting single frames at a time then playing back at 24 frames per second. His music videos express the feelings of 80’s youth in the UK, there are reoccurring images of city wastelands, fire, destruction and the empty searching hand of the individual. There is an anxiety in all of his films but never without hope, the possibility of transformation is implied if not always achieved but there is a sense of searching. The way the camera moves makes us constantly aware of his presence, inspecting its subjects, looking and re-looking and I feel that Richard is discovering that through creation one can find something better or find a way to cope and understand the present.
richard_cows-still
Richard has recently completed a new feature film, Frank, which will be screening at the Cambridge film festival on Wednesday 19th September at 8:30pm.
Frank is the story of a troubled and downtrodden individual whose struggle to cope with the world becomes harder when he meets a corpse called Fidel. The two become friends and Fidel moves in with Frank. Unfortunately, Fidel turns out to be a rather difficult houseguest and things go from strange to stranger when they are joined by depressed and dead bride-to-be Polly.
Frank is clearly a personal story and I suspect a work of therapy, a film made by an artist with a strong vision and style. Frank seems to be a development of Richard’s earlier work and has a lot in common with my personal favourite of his films, Floating (1992). Rather than describe Floating I think it’s best to watch it, so draw the curtains, dim the lights and turn up the sound and watch this strange and wonderful film.