There are films that you can watch a multitude of times and be none-the-wiser as to what’s going on or the filmmaker’s intentions. While surface logic would seem to dictate such films aren’t worth your time (and trust me plenty of them aren’t), occasionally I find myself in love with a film for which I have difficulty finding the narrative, and perhaps more importantly, don’t care to know. Nodern’s (Mitch Stratten) Oh, Diamond, Diamond, Thou Little Knowest the Mischief Thou Hast Done is certainly such a work.
Let me explain. A lone geekie-looking girl, sporting a Forest Gump-styled leg brace walks through a desolate, unrecognised landscape, coming from or going to who knows where. She’s then moved to dance. Why? Again I have no idea, but dance she does in her own unique, stilted manner, until from the long grass leaps an emaciated dog-like creature which latches itself onto her leg with full-on randy intent. Fortunately, our heroine manages to ditch the leg brace with attached dog and move off to a safe viewing distance.
See it? Even written out it still makes little sense??? In an attempt to find the hidden deeper meaning, some light Googling revealed that the title Oh Diamond… was cribbed from a quote attributed to Newton after returning from church to find his beloved dog Diamond had managed to destroy several papers containing the notes of many years’ experiments.
Oh Diamond… was created by Stratten as a promo for his music project which runs under the nom de plume Nodern. After approaching the likes of The Jim Henson Company to build the mutant dog and passing on the £50,000 price tag, Statten built the canine himself, learning the basics of mechanical engineering along the way (Shots 112). He appears to be a director with the envious ability to turn his hand to whatever his mind desires, be it sculpture, music, design or camera rig building.
Several people have pointed to Oh Diamond’s… similarity to Chris Cunningham’s Windowlicker for Aphex Twin, albeit minus the fast one frame edits and reverses. However, it’s possibly truer to say that dancing girls and humping, mutant dogs is just how Statten’s world looks.