The Greatest Show On Earth

Tuesday 19th January 2021

PLATA O PLOMO, dir. Nadia Granados

Alligator wrestling, amphetamine-induced monologuing about Pikachu and microbiomes converge in this programme of performance, character and confession.


Featuring new works by Colombian performance artist Nadia Granados (Borderhole), video artist Andrew Norman Wilson (Workers Leaving the Googleplex) and conceptual monologist Steve Reinke (Semen is the Piss of Dreams), these films explore the ways the performative can be harnessed for dazzling or disorienting effect. Programmed by Tom Grimshaw and the international selection committee. 84'

The programme contains distressing imagery, violence and bodily harm.


Please note, the film Halpate can only be accessed by UK audiences at the request of the filmmakers.

Save 25% with a pass to all five International Competition virtual screenings, or buy a full online Competition pass (all 10 programmes of UK and international award-qualifying short cinema) for just £25.

Tuesday 19th January at 8.30pm


£4 | £15 International Competition pass | £25 Competition pass



Steve Reinke




A night monologue interspersed with other material and ending with Video to Placate Artaud. The artist talks about empathy, tattoos and how our microbiomes are taking over our subconscious, among other things.

“Steve Reinke is one of film’s most rigorous yet playful purveyors of irony, his films exploring the tension between earnest sincerity and ironic provocation with the same reverence reserved for philosophical inquiry. Here Reinke states that ‘We are not post-human; we’ve gone past the post-human and are now pre-microbiome’ and from this spins out a droll and unnervingly high-wire confessional on the loss of his subconscious, rattling through arch ruminations on sex, death, empathy and the encroaching governance of his gut, with a warmly inviting tone that belies the sharp, idiosyncratic nature of his thoughts.”
— Tom Grimshaw


Nadia Granados




The personification of the hitman in this parody of a music video, inspired by the figure of the bad men-rapper of music videos, tells a fiction in which the act of killing is rendered banal, as in action movies, one after another.

“An explosive riot of photo, video and 3D animation in the latest from Colombian performance artist Nadia Granados’s body-based works. Parodying the format of a gangster music video, a Drag King cockily proclaims his capacity for murder against a dizzying montage of sanguineous images. Ridiculing a lauded culture of violence pervading pop culture and the media, Plata O Plomo dethrones the exalted archetype of the hitman and lays bare the cruel absurdity of necrocapitalism. Granados stages a fierce indictment on aggressive masculinity in gang culture that fizzes with punkish force.”
— Maria Paradinas


Adam Piron, Adam Khalil




Considered a staple of Florida tourism, alligator wrestling has been performed by members of the Seminole Tribe for over a century. A profile of the hazards and history of the spectacle through the words of the tribe's alligator wrestlers themselves, and what it has meant to their people's story and survival.

“As of 2015, the Mikasuki language was spoken by approximately 290 Miccosukee and Seminole people in the southern Florida region. In their language, the word ‘halpate’ means ‘alligator’, and the alligator itself is a symbol of both historic freedom and independence, and economic stability. For the last hundred years, alligator wrestling has been a means of survival for the Seminole Tribe, and in Khalil and Piron’s disquieting non-fiction, they interrogate the tensions between history and modernity, as tradition bridges spectacle into the 21st century.”
— Tom Grimshaw


Andrew Norman Wilson




A camera lens with a range of 75mm to 1500mm, propelled by an amphetamine-fueled stream of consciousness rant, repeatedly zooms into the balcony of an apartment inhabited by the narrator, their two artistic collaborators, and their twin boys in Chicago’s iconic Marina Towers. After zeroing in on a series of meme-influenced tableau, the zoom idles on a recreation of a Papier-mâché Pikachu that went viral after being posted to Reddit in 2013.

“In a series of extreme telephoto zooms towards objects on a balcony of Chicago’s Marina Towers, an endless referential and colloquial chatter explores privileged experimental child rearing, the character of the city, and — eventually — a  deep philosophical monologue on Pokémon and the ethics of Poké Balls. The work is named after the Internet-based horror legend which rumoured that the background music of the Pokémon video games’ fictional village Lavender Town caused illness in hundreds of children. It’s an absurd, dead-pan, stream of consciousness approach to metafictional documentary.”
— Laura K. Jacobs


Katharina Huber




Some days she imagines that by her sheer will she can make body parts fall off of people who seem vicious to her. And some other days everyone around her looks beautiful. And when she was little, she wished that flowers would grow out of her footprints.

“With this animated existential epic, Katharina Huber has created a complex, non-judgmental portrait of 21st century malaise that perfectly encapsulates (and preempted) the agitation, resignation and paralysis of lockdown life. Using the titular death of a mouse as her starting point, Huber goes on to interrogate those messy, unattractive qualities we find within ourselves, acknowledging each of our capacity for apathy and finite reserves of empathy. It’s a bold and beautifully crafted piece of work, humane and unflinchingly honest.”
— Tom Grimshaw

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