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Film ID  ACE113
Article  The
Title  World of Gilbert and George
Series 
Part 
Date  1981
Director  Gilbert & George
Production Company 
Synopsis  Italo-British performance artists, “living sculptures”, Gilbert Proesch (b.1943) and George Passmore (b.1942).
Minutes  69 min
Choreographer 
Full synopsis  ACE113.2 (00:00:00 - 00:07:18)
Credits. Christ Church, Spitalfields, London; 360° view of London skyline. Gilbert, George. Rooftops: George Passmore’s VO recites “Misery for all. Here the struggled punished Nature masks the hands of Man’s three hundred years of crude loving desperate commerce …”; Gilbert Proesch’s VO continues: “… there are no ghosts.” Gilbert and George with VOs saying the Lord’s Prayer. Various images of Christ Church, roofs, trees, plate of food, rubble, Peace Descending on the Quadriga of War on Wellington Arch, chimney of Tate Gallery, etc. Prayer repeated over close-ups of details of their faces. Fournier Street house interior – wood panelled room. Gilbert says “I believe in the art, the beauty and the life of the artist who is an eccentric person with something to say for himself … Beauty is my art.” George repeats the same.

ACE113.3 (00:07:18 - 00:16:34)
Tree blossoms. Young boy. George’s VO reads formal description of “Bird’s foot trefoil…”. Other blossom; boy. Gilbert reads description of “Bitter sweet…”. More plants and boys with further descriptions over. Union flag, military band plays Rule, Britannia, over. Gilbert and George scream. Music continues over punching bare arms and clenched fists. Young men list things they do in their free time. Panelled room. Gilbert and George drinking wine in front of plates of peanuts. Intercut shots of each mouthing drunken phrases. Plants; Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven over. Gilbert and George sing along.

ACE113.4 (00:16:34 - 00:24:00)
Close-ups of foodstuffs. George’s VO: “Here, with the handsome beauty of the daily food, these pools of juices and mounds of dead matter…”. Man sitting on ground repeats that he is “a happy drunk”. Rainy Spitalfields street. Gilbert’s VO: “Scarred hard street, we see you for your worthless worthiness, made miserable by Nature and your lust...”. Gilbert and George: “We like very much to be happy. We like very much to be drunk. We like very to be unhappy. We like very much to be sober…”. Flowers, puddle; music over. Boy; Gilbert’s VO describing him, “… here is the boy”. Piccadilly Circus. Second boy; George’s VO. Trafalgar Square at night. Man; George’s VO. Houses of Parliament. Second man; George’s VO, “… here is the man” . Tower of London at night. Camera PoV in alley towards the Kings Stores public house. Christ Church from Brushfield Street; George’s VO, “Dead church with stones piled up for classic heathen sense…”.

ACE113.5 (00:24:00 - 00:32:30)
Gilbert and George performing to Bend it, Bend it by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich (1966). View from New Bridge Street towards St Paul’s Cathedral, etc; Gilbert and George say words alternately, “Miserable. Church. Cold. Warm. Tired. Station…”. The “happy drunk” eating a meal. Clouds. George: “We walked through rain to Farnborough…”. Gilbert and George seated backwards on wooden chairs, holding the cross shapes of the backs. More clouds; Gilbert VO “A rose was on our cupboard new…”. Gilbert and George on chairs intercut with clouds; George VO, “ A tart was walking down our street…”, Gilbert, “A friend came to our house one day…”. Gilbert and George facing each other, each alternately shouting or with his tongue out. Gilbert and George at table with cake and teacups, etc. They pass each other food, and ask each other very carefully how the other is, what they should do in the evening, if they should change to go out, etc.

ACE113.6 (00:32:30 - 00:40:19)
Travelling shot along graffitied wall; music over. Gilbert and George, faces close together, lit from below; Gilbert VO, “In this place we have to stay…”. War memorial to Royal Fusiliers, Holborn, with different angled shots cut to marching drumbeat. Wood panelled room. A boy knocks at the front door. George and Gilbert (VO) take turns to ask him questions. The room. Tree branches. George standing by one wall, Gilbert by another. The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended sung over. Gilbert and George walk slowly around, singing the hymn, then move around on their backs on the floor to the same music. Close-ups. Naked young man smoking; repeats several times “I am a young man”. Youths playing football in yard.

ACE113.7 (00:40:19 - 00:48:32)
Furniture and ornaments in oak-panelled room; George’s VO “Our oaken misery of neurotic escape…”. Gilbert and George standing beside window; they take it in turns to name things related to buildings, “…moss and mouldings, windows and waterpipes…”, and move on to “… asbestos and Aldgate, Spitalfields and spire…”, etc. Union Flag with Chopin’s Funeral March over; music continues over two uniformed officers marking time, a cross, heraldic symbols of the City of London, panning shots of office blocks. Young man drinking glass of water. Glasses being filled; Gilbert and George VO in chorus, “The drinks were poured…”. Clouds, glasses filled again, more clouds, etc., with VOs continuing. Gilbert and George walking and talking slightly drunkenly, sharing their drinks, etc. Drunken camera’s-eye view of alley way. The “happy drunk” talking about himself. The officers marking time to Onward, Christian Soldiers.

ACE113.8 (00:48:32 - 00:56:43)
The NatWest Tower (now Tower 42) at night; Gilbert VO, “With fine-brained ghastliness of good intentions…”. Gilbert and George looking upwards. Table with picture, vase of flowers, etc; George VO, “The manly human landscape of the cultivated person…”. Gilbert and George alternately speak words to camera, “Unhealthy. Middle aged. Dirty minded. Depressed. Cynical...”, etc., and together, “We are artists”. Blossom on branches; sound of fighter aircraft. Young man answers unheard questions about his life, “…Not much to it…”. A second thinks his life is “pretty interesting”. Several more talk about themselves. Close shot of man’s eyes staring into camera. Wall, plants, trees. Panning shot of the derelict Chamberlain’s Wharf and nearby buildings; sounds of glass breaking. Shot continues to showing HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge.

ACE113.9 (00:56:43 - 01:04:09)
Young man repeating “I am angry”. Block of flats; noise from traffic and roadworks. Close shot of man’s face. Gilbert and George by their window. “How shall we spend the day, Gilbert?” and further conversation to discuss this. Branch with blossom. The panelled room. George, Gilbert. Turning flowers. George VO, “Vast purity of privileged beauty, we love you…”. Crucifix earring. Young male wearer repeats “Jesus Christ” several times. Branch with blossom. View over Commercial Street; traffic noise. Gilbert and George apparently asleep; Gilbert’s VO, “Wet dreamed perverted thoughts pervade the worried restless workers’ sleepy heads…”. Moving fruit and vegetables; George VO, “Here in the dreamland of our anxious night, the fruits behave...”. Flower; scream over.

ACE113.10 (01:04:09 - 01:08:55)
Large crucifix; boy’s VO repeating “Oh God forgive me”. George and Gilbert, holding their faces in their hands. Red clouds. Jerusalem (And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time) sung over these, over Gilbert and George’s hands holding different flowers in and out of shot, ivy leaves, a de-fleshed rib cage, pair of worn out shoes, details of buildings, two tall apartment blocks (Queensbridge Road), leafy branches, flowers, boy drinking water, Gilbert and George grimacing at camera, half-naked young man laughing, two young men wrestling, Gilbert and George clashing spears, Gilbert and George holding branches, young man with arms outstretched in front of England St George’s cross flag. Panning shot over London at night. Close-up of face of soldier on war memorial intercut with close-ups of Gilbert and George; rifle shots over. Gilbert and George say together to camera “This is the world. This is our end. This is our world and this is the end.” The End.

Full credits  Camera Martin Schäfer; Camera Assistant Peter Harvey; Gaffer Mick Duffield Sound Martin Müller Dubbing Mixer Mike Billing; Editor Heather Holden; Produced by Philip Haas Directed by Gilbert & George; Script by Gilbert & George. 1980. © Arts Council of Great Britain 1981.
Watch segments  ACE113.2 (00:00:00 - 00:07:18)
ACE113.3 (00:07:18 - 00:16:34)
ACE113.4 (00:16:34 - 00:24:00)
ACE113.5 (00:24:00 - 00:32:30)
ACE113.6 (00:32:30 - 00:40:19)
ACE113.7 (00:40:19 - 00:48:32)
ACE113.8 (00:48:32 - 00:56:43)
ACE113.9 (00:56:43 - 01:04:09)
ACE113.10 (01:04:09 - 01:08:55)
Watch movie 

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