#smilesfilm by Yoko Ono

My ultimate goal in film-making is to make a film which includes a smiling face snap of every single human being in the world. Of course, I cannot go around the whole world and take the shots myself. I need cooperation from something like the post offices of the world. If anybody would drop a snapshot of themselves and their families to the post office of their town, or allow themselves to be photographed by the nearest photographic studio, this would be soon accomplished.

Of course, the film would need constant adding of footage. Probably no-one would like to see the whole film at once, so you can keep it in a library or something, and when you want to see some particular town’s people’s smiling faces you can go and check that section of the film. We can also arrange it with a television network so that whenever you want to see faces of a particular location in the world, all you have to do is to press a button and there it is. This way, if Johnson wants to see what sort of people he killed in Vietnam that day, he only has to turn the channel. Before this you were just part of a figure in the newspapers, but after this you become a smiling face. And when you are born, you will know that if you wanted to, you will have in your lifetime to communicate with the whole world. That is more than most of us could ask for. Very soon, the age may come where we would not need photographs to communicate, like ESP, etc. It will happen soon, but that will be “After The Film Age”.

Yoko Ono, London ‘67

Add your smiling face to the #smilesfilm flickr group HERE.

Please add yours, or your friends’ smiling face, in a similar size framing.
Don’t forget to add to the flickr map where it was taken on the planet.

See the very latest version of #smilesfilm on flickr HERE.

Still from Film No. 5 by Yoko Ono, ‘SMILE’ starring John Lennon

How To… SMILE by Yoko Ono

I told you to smile when you are feeling down.
However, there are steps you should know.
First you go to the mirror and smile to the mirror in anyway you can.
You probably will not feel any different.
Smile a few times that way.
If that is not enough, smile a few times every morning when you see the mirror.
That won’t do much, either, right?

Because there is a way to smile and change not only your mood, but make your body healthy and young, and change your life for the better!

1) Smile just by twisting the ends of your mouth up. That doesn’t get you anywhere, I bet. But that’s a start.

2) Smile with your eyes and mouth. That’s better. Your smile will make somebody feel good, maybe. Add a little giggle, and they will either think you’re crazy or like you for it.

3) If you really want to smile so it will make yourself feel good as well – you have to smile from your heart and your lungs. Don’t worry, if you are ending the smile with a quiet sound like ummm.

4) The next step will make you feel still better. Smile from your solar plexus. This has an added benefit of making your solar plexus healthier, and active.

5) The next step is to smile right down from your stomach. When you do this, make sure to breathe deeply and pull your stomach muscles in as you smile.

6) The next step – yes, there are more steps! – you should smile from your knees. Again, just pull your knees in – as you pull your stomach in – at the same time you use your lungs, heart and solar plexus. You’ll see that by then, you are smililng with your whole body. You won’t forget to smile with your eyes and mouth at the same time. It will happen anyway. That’s how you will get the true benefit of smiling.

How about giving a smile to others? Should we forget that? Don’t worry. They’ll notice your smile. Only, this time, you’ll feel good, too. Very, very good!

I love you! yoko

Yoko Ono
24 July 2009


Send a smile to your friend so he/she can smile, too.
Think of a way to do it.

You could send a photo that says ‘smile’,
or a picture, a story, or a piece of pie,
but specify that it’s a smile you’re passing on.

Ask him/her to do the same:
to pass on the ‘smile’ in his/her own way.

Film No.5: ‘Smile’

Starring: John Lennon
Director: Yoko Ono
Music: John Lennon

John and Yoko’s film partnership began as spring became summer in 1968. The first two films they made were shot in a single afternoon in the garden of John’s house ‘Kenwood’ in Weybridge. Their first film was called Number 5, but it has also been known as Smile. A special high-speed camera was used to film John’s facial expressions as he stuck out his tongue, wiggled his eyebrows and gave fleeting smiles over 3 minutes. The camera was able to take 20,000 frames per minute, which enabled the film to last 52 minutes. Yoko initially considered making Number 5 four hours long, but this was considered impractical and the finished movie ran for 52 minutes. It premiered at the Chicago Film Festival in 1968.

Interview with John Lennon in Rolling Stone 23/11/68:

Do you think Yoko’s film of you smiling would work of it were just anyone smiling?
John: Yes, it works with somebody else smiling, but she went through all this. It originally started out that she wanted a million people all over the world to send in a snapshot of themselves smiling, and then it got down to lots of people smiling, and then maybe one or two and then me smiling as a symbol of today smiling-and that’s what I am, whatever that means. And so it’s me smiling, and that’s the hang-up, of course, because it’s me again. But they’ve got to see it someday-it’s only me. I don’t mind if people go to the film to see me smiling because it doesn’t matter, it’s not harmful. The idea of the film won’t really be dug for another fifty or a hundred years probably. That’s what it’s all about. I just happen to be that face.

It’s too bad people can’t come down here and individually to see how you’re living.
John: Well, that’s it. I didn’t see Ringo and his wife for about a month when I first got together with Yoko, and there were rumors going around about the film and all that. Maureen was saying she really had some strange ideas about where we were at and what we were up to. And there were some strange reactions from all me friends and at Apple about Yoko and me and what we were doing -“Have they gone mad?”. But of course it was just us, you know, and if they are puzzled or reacting strangely to us two being together and doing what we’re doing, it’s not hard to visualize the rest of the world really having some amazing image.

Yoko: The films SMILE and TWO VIRGINS were done in a spirit of home movies. In both films, we were mainly concerned about the vibrations the films send out-the kind that was between us. Imagine a painting that smiles just once in a billion years. John’s ghostly smile in Film No. 5 might just communicate in a hundred years’ time, or maybe, the way things are rolling, it may communicate much earlier than that. I think all the doors are just ready to open now.