Films from the English Underground

Revolutions 10-13 // A Certain Sensibility: Films from the English Underground
Thu 06 – Sat 22 June, open Thu-Sat, 12-5pm

This new exhibition draws together works from filmmakers key to the more radical trajectory of the English underground movement of the late 70s/early 80s.

Drawing on the ‘New Romantic’ and avant garde cutup/collage aesthetic, Vivid Projects presents key works from Richard Heslop, Marc Karlin and Derek Jarman.


Week 1: Thu 06-Sat 09 June, 12-5pm daily
Richard Heslop

Seminal film and music video director, Heslop began his career operating a live multi-projection for British industrial/ post-punk band 23 Skidoo. Heslop has also worked as cinematographer for Derek Jarman and directed music videos for legendary bands including The Smiths, New Order, Happy Mondays, The Cure, and The Shaman.

Vivid Projects presents three films from Heslop’s body of work including ’7 songs’ (1983) with the music of 23 Skidoo, ‘FU GI’, and his award-winning debut feature ‘The Child and The Saw’ (1983).

Fri 07 June, 7.30pm (tickets £5 adv/ £7 on the door)
TALK: Dave Haslam: Searching For the Young Punk Rebels

Music historian and legendary Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam will explore and celebrate music activity in Birmingham from 1976 to 1982, drawing on interviews with Lesley Woods, Kevin Rowland, and Duran Duran’s John Taylor (among others). The event is followed by an in conversation with Jez Collins, founder of Birmingham Popular Music Archive, reflecting on collective and personal memories of Kahn & Bell, Barbarellas, Fashion, Ranking Roger and other memories from a very creative era in the city’s cultural history.

Advance tickets £5 + 95p booking fee available here:

Sat 08 Jun, 2pm (admission £3 on the door)
SCREENING: Chris Petit, Radio On

Don’t miss this one-off screening of ‘Radio On’ [dir: Chris Petit, 1979], one of the most striking feature debuts in British cinema. A haunting blend of edgy mystery story and existential road movie, ‘Radio On’ is crammed with eerie evocations of English landscape and weather. Stunningly photographed in monochrome by Wim Wenders’ assistant cameraman Martin Schäfer, Radio On is driven by a startling new wave soundtrack featuring David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Lene Lovich, Ian Dury, Wreckless Eric, Robert Fripp and Devo, and reveals an early screen performance by Sting.

Week 2: Thu 13- Sat 15 June, 12-5pm daily
Marc Karlin

Described as one of the most significant unknown film-makers working in Britain during the past three decades, Karlin was a central figure in the radical avant-garde of the 1970s and made a major contribution to the shaping of Channel 4.

Vivid Projects presents a selection of his works alongside a one-off screening of Night Cleaners on Saturday 15 June at 2pm.

Sat 15 Jun, 2pm (admission £3 on the door)
SCREENING: Berwick Street Collective, Nightcleaners

Made by the Berwick Street Collective of which Karlin was a member, Night Cleaners is a defining film, depicting the work and activism of the women who clean London’s offices, and combining formalist experiment and political will with an unsentimental humanity.
Week 3: Thu 20 – Sat 22 June, 12-5pm daily
Derek Jarman

Innovative, esteemed and controversial, Derek Jarman (1942 – 1994) produced works which were technically original, aesthetically radical and which constitute an astonishing personal and public record of England in the last quarter of the 20th century.

Vivid Projects presents three of Jarman’s works: ‘Pirate Tape’ [1983] featuring William S. Burroughs and FM Einheit and cut to a loop of Burrough’s voice with sound by Psychic TV: Genesis P-Orridge, Peter Christopherson (COIL), Geff Rushton, (COIL), Alex Fergusson (Alternative TV), John Gosling (Zos Kia) and Paula P-Orridge; ‘TG: Psychic Rally in Heaven’ [1981], an experimental film featuring a 1980 performance by Throbbing Gristle; and ‘The Last of England’ (1987), a poetic depiction of what Jarman felt was the loss of traditional English culture in the 1980s.

Sat 22 Jun, 2pm (admission £3 on the door)
SCREENING: Derek Jarman, The Last of England’

Join us for a one-off screening of Derek Jarman’s ‘The Last of England’ – a dark and personal meditation on England under the Thatcher-era of conservatism.

“Wrenchingly beautiful… one of the few commanding works of personal cinema in the late ’80s.” – The Village Voice

A Certain Sensibility: Films from the English Underground is presented as part of 33 REVOLUTIONS, Vivid Projects’ 8-month opening season which asks the question, can art and culture be a catalyst for social change?

Vivid Projects | 16 Minerva Works | 158 Fazeley Street | Birmingham | B5 5RS | E: