‘I do not want to smoke’ GHM exhibition until 13th May


This film installation spotlights a pivotal, yet often overlooked, moment in the history of medical cinema. Bringing to life one of the world’s first attempts to incorporate the cinema into psychotherapeutic treatment, the installation showcases the short film, I Do Not Want To Smoke (2020). The film is based on a script published in the Soviet Union in 1936 but never produced. Demonstrating cinema’s capacity to aid medical treatment, the film attempts to use hypnosis to help patients quit smoking. 


This film script was developed when smoking was being heavily promoted. Smoking continued to be for the next 50 years despite evidence that it was seriously bad for people’s health.


I Do Not Want To Smoke
 produced by Anna Toropova (University of Oxford) in collaboration with Steven Sheil (director), Tara Creme (composer) and Ste McGregor (animator). Whilst not attempting an historical reconstruction, the film seeks to honour the aesthetics and practices of 1920s and 1930s cinema. Using lights, camera lenses and framing consistent with the period, I Do Not Want to Smoke takes inspiration from the animations deployed in early Soviet health education films, and deploys an in-camera transformation effect pioneered by the American cinematographer Karl Struss.’