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The Smile 'Skrting On The Surface' by Mark Jenkin

David Knight - 18th Mar 2022

Thom Yorke collaborates with director Mark Jenkin, and takes on an extraordinary role, in the new video for The Smile, Yorke's new project with Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner.

Yorke plays a miner, working deep underground, in the video for Skrting On The Surface - directed, shot and edited by Jenkin, the BAFTA award-winning director of lo-fi, no-budget Cornish-set drama Bait, and created in the same homespun, tactile way as that remarkable film.

Jenkin has described the video as 'a subterranean road movie', which was shot on location within a real Cornish tin mine. Yorke plays the lonely miner pushing a skipful of rock through gloomy tunnels, his toil made mesmerising by Jenkin's remarkable use of film, where the grain, abrasions and markings on the stock itself become part an integral part of the story.

As with all of his films - including for The Smoke, his previous video for The Smile - Jenkin hand-developed the footage, shot on black and white 16mm stock. In this case, he has used the water from the mine itself in the developing process, which not only pays homage to a venerable location, but also ties in with the theme of renewal at the heart of the video - when its revealed that Yorke's toil is for an altogether surprising purpose.

And Jenkins' unique style also works, of course, as a brilliant means to showcase Yorke's unique screen charisma. He has made a significant contribution in making so many great Radiohead videos, and this one stands up with the best of those.

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David Knight - 18th Mar 2022


  • Narrative
  • Pick of the Day
  • Alternative
  • Rock
  • Coal Miner
  • Black & White
  • 16mm

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Mark Jenkin
Denzil Monk
Production Company
Executive Producer
Joel Spencer
Production Manager
Ella Turner
1st AD
Callum Mitchell


Director of Photography
Mark Jenkin


Colin Holt


Production designer
Joe Gray


Mark Jenkin


Mark Jenkin


Director's Representation
Chris Baker
Director's Representation
OB Management


XL Recordings

David Knight - 18th Mar 2022

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