Film - The Lives of Hamilton Fish

The Lives of Hamilton Fish

Chris Smith sings the praises of Rachel Mason's The Lives of Hamilton Fish, on now at the Raindance Film Festival...

Rachel Mason's not-quite-musical and not-quite-film follows the intertwined fictionalised lives of two men, both named Hamilton Fish. They both passed away on 16th January 1936 but their lives couldn't have been more different. One was a U.S. Statesman who experienced tragedy, the other, a serial killer sentenced to death. The Lives of Hamilton Fish has Mason (who also wrote and directed) as the editor of The Evening Star, who narrates via song the lives and deaths of both men.

Mason is a talented woman and her background as an artist is evident. Every song is filled with thumping guitar rings and haunting, catchy lyrics against inventive, colourful sets. Each Hamilton is explored in turn, from the killer's childhood experiences and inner most thoughts, to the suicide of the statesman's wife. It works wonderfully and huge amounts of fun.

The Lives of Hamilton Fish is more a visual concept album than a traditionally structured film. Part extended music video and part performance art, almost nothing can be predicted in advance. With trees constructed from card and electric chairs set against an almost perverse amount of colour, it's impossible to overstate how much effort and thought must have gone into producing such a visual feast. Depending on the financing available, this is either a big money project and an expert demonstration in minimalism or a tiny budget used amazingly well. Either way, everyone involved should be very proud.

This work will not be to everyone's tastes but those who do take a chance on it will be rewarded. This is art. This is a blending of fact and fiction.

These are The Lives of Hamilton Fish.

Image - Raindance

Next showing Thursday October 1st at 3:40PM @ Vue Picadilly. Tickets available here.
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