In the first three years of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s relationship they made several attempts at making movies. Take a brief look at all these celluloid, avant-garde, movies.

Smile aka Film No.5
(1968)

John and Yoko’s very first attempt at movie-making. It featured Lennon in the garden of his Surrey home pottering about and pulling faces. Apart from that, not much else happened. The twist was though, the film was then slowed down so that something rather uninteresting was spread over a mind-numbing 52 minutes. Had it been up to Yoko Ono though it may have been slowed down further until it was 4 hours long. It was screened to an audience at the Chicago film festival in 1968; by the time half an hour had passed, half the audience had already left.

Two Virgins
(1968)

Another movie-making attempt, another use of slow-motion camera techniques. It shows John and Yoko getting up close and personal before their two faces blur together. In the background you can hear the almostunlistenable album of the same name. Unlistenable music played over an unwatchable movie; and that’s being generous.

Image via Wikipedia

Rape
(1969)

The most successful film that John Lennon and Yoko Ono ever made. The film itself was just a camera following a girl and then following her some more to show what would happen to someone who was totally exposed. The girl that was followed was 21 year old Hungarian Eva Majlata who apparently freaked out about it all. Lennon said that the film was an way to show how exposed and under pressure everyone was in the contemporary world. The film wasn’t released everywhere but it did receive good reviews by critics after it was shown on television in Austria.

Self Portrait
(1969)

A 42 minute film showing John Lennon’s penis. Sometimes in a state of partial arousal and sometimes not. Yoko Ono once said that the critics wouldn’t touch it; hopefully she was referring to the film!

Apotheosis
(1970)

Apotheosis was classed as an avant-garde movie, or was at least meant to be. Or something like that. It was filmed the year previous and showed John and Yoko dressed in black capes and hoods driving to the Suffolk village of Lavenham. While there, they filmed a hot-air balloon taking off and followed it as it travelled through the sky. Then comes some views of the snow covered fields and then the screen just becomes blankly-white. What it all meant still remains a mystery.

Up Your Legs Forever
(1970)

In 1966, Yoko Ono released her film ‘Bottoms’ which was a compendium of 365 people who had bared their buttocks for inclusion in the film. ‘Up Your Legs Forever’ was more of the same, this time though it was the legs and not the buttocks. A total of 300 pairs of legs were filmed from top to bottom. The film was apparently released to help promote peace.

Image via Wikipedia

Freedom
(1970)

Can this even be classed as a film? It doesn’t even last one minute and all it shows is Yoko Ono trying unsuccessfully to take off her bra.

Fly
(1970)

Filmed at about the same time as ‘Up Your Legs Forever’, this film showed a fly exploring a naked woman’s body. In fact, it wasn’t just one fly that was used, there was more than 200 used. Assistants had to be sent out to find more and more flies. It is surprising what some people would do just to make a 19 minute long film.

Erection
(1971)

You may be automatically thinking that this film will, in some way, be about a penis but it’s not. The 20 minute long film is a time-lapsed view of the International Hotel on Cromwell Road. It took nearly 9 months to film.

P.S. This article was originally published by the same author on Triond on the 13th of October 2009 and can be found by clicking HERE.