Production: UK, 1969
Director: Yoko Ono & John Lennon
Ono and Lennon made several experimental films during the late 1960s/early 1970s; some are throwaway, while others, like Rape, are extremely powerful and engaging. Rape is based on a brief cinematic premise by Ono written in 1968: “The cameraman will chase a girl on a street with a camera persistently until he corners her in an alley, and, if possible, until she is in a falling position”. The resultant movie also has distinct echoes of Samuel Beckett’s Film (1965). Randomly picking up an attractive European girl as she strolls through a London graveyard, the camera starts to follow her, silently, always moving to keep her in shot. Her bemused but initially friendly attempts at communication are ignored; only the implacable eye of the camera persists. By the end of the film, as the camera invades her private living space, the girl is both angry and frightened, reduced to tears as she makes a desperate phone call for help. Although no-one has laid a hand on her, the girl has been brutally mind-raped by the probing camera. This has led some to interpret the movie as Ono’s reaction to the relentless invasion of privacy suffered by her and Lennon. The film also has the effect of making its audience, by now explicitly aware of their voyeuristic role in the proceedings, extremely uncomfortable; Rape remains a psychologically violent, sadistic blur of primal film-making.
Posted by Cryptomaniac