David Austen Happiness

Happiness (2013)

16mm black and white film transferred to video silent


Man Liam Smith

Woman Margaret Ann Bain

Commissioned by Random Acts

A naked man and woman. He gives her flowers. They are happy and in love. Time passes. They hate each other. She murders him. She is happy.



All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.


‘Happiness’ started from this wonky premise. But I decided on a ‘real’ woman rather than a girl. The Man and Woman is every couple, from Adam and Eve onwards.

The film is intended to be funny, a comedy, in the ‘blackest’ way. Instead I find it terribly sad though not unfunny.

I was thinking of Orpheus, his love for Eurydice, the descent into the Underworld, and his eventual violent death at the hands of women.

I see the film as snippet of myth, held in a time machine, replayed over and over.

The couple appear like they have stepped out of a Muybridge photograph. They look naked, vulnerable and outside time.