Lye captures "the rhythms of work-a-day Britain" through his own unique visual filter, where furnaces explode into molten splashes of color and the roll of the ocean shimmers. Understands the speed and pulse of modern urban life and the role cinema plays in shaping and reflecting this new reality. Time equals money for the laborers we see in Trade Tattoo, but for Lye, time also equals cinema.
If only second features, nay the feature film, let alone advertisements - this funded by the British GPO - could be as creative in the space of the head of a pin as this gem abstractly extolling (as ever) the virtues of utilising a monopoly postal and telephone communications organisation. The Atlantic may separate them, but an antecedent of Stan Brakhage's later work directly onto celluloid. A little burst of joy.
Crazy! In the best way. The bizarre overlay of Cuban music on working Brits almost seems to predict Terry Gilliam's Brazil. http://www.ubu.com/film/lye_tattoo.html // Saw a different version at the 2018 Nitrate Picture Show. Review forthcoming.