Do our words create reality, or do our words describe reality?

A short film about the deceptive power of words.

Imagine you can fully direct your experience. It's not true, but imagine you can.

Watch filmmaker John Smith explore how he directed reality in his short humorous film The Girl Chewing Gum, made in 1976.


Mr. Smith said:
"I'm interested in the ambiguity of meaning, how things can mean different things when they are presented in different ways, and how one can use the context of a film to change meaning..."

"It's got to do with labeling, and how we perceive things, how we're told what things are. There's an awful way in which documentaries can completely subvert the real world. It's very hard when you look at a documentary that's got a voiceover, without turning the sound down, to say, "Well, what is this visual information giving me really? Is this evidence for what's being said?" "No, it could be evidence of lots of different things," one might say. But the power of the text is so strong, that the image appears to be what the voice is telling us it is."
Interview with John Smith, Millenium Film Journal>>

Buy this and other British short films in a DVD from Cinema16>>


  1. I'm always a bit wary of documentaries as they contain just enough of the Objective to make one forget that the whole thing is an exercise in reality manipulation! At least the well-crafted examples do. Suspension of disbelief is part of the fun of taking in Art, but the ol' Critical Thinker in me is ever-vigilant...

  2. I feel the same way. It's hard to suspend disbelief and believe at the same time.


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