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Dead Happy

Stuart Croft
1998
9 mins Colour Hi-8/digibeta
Gallery loop

Dead Happy

A fractured trailer for a non-existent TV drama series is merged with a documentary, shot in the afterlife.

The trailer's story tracks a relationship in destructive decline: Tony sleeps around, after which his depressive girlfriend Suzy commits suicide. Tony succumbs to a staple diet of TV drama afflictions, beginning with sporadic binge-eating which develops into full blown bulimia. His descent continues as he is drawn into gun-running and contract killing. Underneath the trailer, in classic docu-silhouette, Suzy describes her childhood and the build-up to her suicide. She talks of how she can "see'" Tony - and his helpless slide into disorder.

The two fake media genres of Dead Happy tell the same story, and they track each other relentlessly - sometimes colliding, often sliding out of sync. A precise and fragmented editing structure prolongs the characters' torment whilst starkly opposing the chaotic nature of the film's content.

Cast: Clare Coupe, Sebastian Roach, Darren Flook, Sarah Conway
Voiceover: Sarah Carpenter
Editor: Magnus Chisholm
Producers: Stuart Croft, Emma Bennett
Co-Producer: Stuart Bedford

First screening: Dead Happy, MA Exhibition, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, August 1998

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