OVID.tv Presents THE WORLD OF GILBERT AND GEORGE Film Review — Lads and Artists

Two pairs of hands and their respective torsos grasp leisurely at two full glasses of wine and two floral plates of baked beans. There are no visible heads attached to these bodies until they begin speaking fluent intoxication. “Thos’re some bloody bollocks,” Gilbert grins. A hand grabs some beans to soon be gobbled up by its owner. “He’s just a silly ole queen,” George slurs through his half burnt cigarette. More nonsense is verbally exchanged until Clink! The two torsos of Gilbert and George share a salute with two full glasses, products of whose eager drunkenness did not allow to dip below the halfway point. You are witnessing the rituals of the classic pub scene where, in this case, two British blokes blissfully ingest more than their body needs. 

Gilbert and George are an artist duo best known for redefining the concept of sculpture into a less conventional and more living form, specifically one where they themselves are the sculpture. Performance art is often their attention-grabbing medium of choice. This writer recommends that you take a quick prerequisite course by watching this short clip of The Singing Sculpture, an act where they covered themselves head-to-toe with metallic pigment and suits, and paraded for days at a time to a popular British tune. Similarly, constructed as a series of staged performances, The World of Gilbert and George is a film that is, at its core, non-stop eccentricity.


Throughout the film, they break the fourth wall to remind viewers that seeking for beauty is their basic calling. What they don’t tell you is how they will illustrate their idea of this beauty. Viewers are diving in, head first, into the minds of these two middle aged men with experimental natures, which combine to create an unexpected assortment of clips. For example, one of their dancing scenes could hardly be expected, in this reviewer’s opinion, as they thrust their hips and jolt their shoulders forward to a tune for an unusually long time. But for all the humorous moments you get, there are just as many bleak ones, often immediately following one another.

OVID.tv’s The World of Gilbert and George does not rely on the traditional blueprint for blockbuster films


Gilbert and George have avoided traditional methods of communication through which they express their opinions, and this film is certainly no exception. Behind the nonsense are their philosophies that viewers may decipher, so long as they are looking from a somewhat unbiased perspective. These scenes, which give the illusory effect of an animated film, are not to be expected.

Poetic narratives overlay visuals that range from flowers of vast purity, to pouring ghastly wine into glasses, to layers of fruits that appear to move around on their own. The content of the audio dubs, which are often of political and social critique, bring a bit of sense and meaning to the film. 

If you don’t take life too seriously, this might be the film for you. By watching Gilbert and George interact with one another and, literally, within their own world, you can feel a sense of brotherly camaraderie, that completely in-tune kind. You too might think their unified voice is revolutionary, controversial, disturbing, and unmatched. Prepare to giggle, sigh heavily, and even recoil at the joyride of absurdity that is The World of Gilbert and George.


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Run time: 69 minutes

Creative team

Directors: Gilbert & George
Script: Gilbert & George
Producer: Philip Haas

For more information on this film and how to view it, please view the OVID.tv webpage for The World of Gilbert and George

Photos courtesy of OVID.tv


Abby Utley

About the Author: Abby Utley

Abby Utley writes as a method of truth-seeking. Getting to the bottom of things is her prerogative, and so is keeping her music playlists fresh. Although she puts originality at the forefront of her written pieces, she finds the most inspiration after immersing herself in other art forms. When she's not writing, you may find her at the rock climbing gym, where she may take a break thirty minutes into her workout to write a satirical article. Finding humor where one may not expect is another one of Abby's prerogatives that allows her to think out of that stingy ole box that so many adults find themselves trapped in. She thinks tapping back into a childlike imagination is something all writers should work towards.

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