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On 9th June 1968, at John’s home ‘Kenwood’ in Weybridge, Surrey, John & Yoko began a collaborative period of creative film-making that would end up lasting four years, beginning with two films called ‘Film No. 5’ (‘Smile’) (conceived by Yoko) and ‘Two Virgins’ (conceived by John & Yoko) that would premiere at the Chicago Film Festival later that year. The filming involved specialist high-speed 16mm cameras (in those days mainly used for filming scientific experiments) operated by William Wareing and his team.
For ‘Film No. 5’ (‘Smile’), the magic of John smiling is captured in ultra slow motion (with the film running through the camera at ultra high-speed), and for ‘Two Virgins’, they filmed with a different high-speed camera and used a trick that John had employed when filming with his Standard 8 cameras of rewinding all the film and running it through the camera a second time, to double expose the negative. They filmed John’s face, rewound the film and then filmed Yoko’s face, creating in-camera superimpositions of their faces merging.
We see John & Yoko in the sun room, where John sat playing a nylon stringed guitar, and where, among other things, you can see John’s drum skin from the Sgt Pepper album cover (designed by Joe Ephgrave) and his psychedelic upright piano (painted by Marijke Koger and Simon Posthuma from Dutch design collective, The Fool) and, with most success, around the swimming pool, where Yoko dances and John plays a steel string acoustic guitar.