Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989)
Breath, Directed by Damien Hirst
Directed by Damien Hirst, from Beckett on Film, 1 minute, 21 seconds


Breath was written in 1969 in response to Kenneth Tynan's request for a piece for his show Oh, Calcutta, which featured a series of risqué sketches. It lasts less than a minute. On a set full of rubbish, a person cries out, then breathes in again.

'Faint brief cry and immediately inspiration and slow increase of light together reaching maximum together in about ten seconds. Silence and hold about five seconds.' – Breath


Damien Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He attended Goldsmiths' College, University of London from 1986 until 1989. While still a student, Damien curated the widely acclaimed 'Freeze' exhibition, which launched the career of many successful artists including himself. He has had many solo shows in London, New York and Zurich. He exhibited at the Tate Gallery and recently showed pieces in the 'Sensation' exhibition at the Royal Academy. He was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 1992 and won it in 1995.

'When I was asked to direct this film, I read the text and thought it was incredibly precise and strict. While preparing to shoot, I kept reading the text over and over and what really focused me was Beckett's direction "Hold for about five seconds". That was when I realised that Beckett had this massive sense of humour.' – Damien Hirst

Alan Schneider -- "On Directing Samuel Beckett's Film" in UbuWeb Papers