DMU cinema researchers join special screenings as tribute to iconic filmmaker


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As part of an ongoing collaboration between Network Distributing and DMU’s Cinema and Television Research Institute, the Peter Whitehead Archive will present two screenings at one of London’s most important showcases for creative practice, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in The Mall.

On Thursday, 7 November there will be a premiere of Network’s sparkling HD restoration of Peter Whitehead’s The Fall (1969), a ground-breaking documentary of radical political and artistic dissent in New York 1967-68.

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The film is widely recognised as a vital contribution to the evolution of documentary practice in the way it presents an unashamedly subjective portrait of its times and their effect on the film-maker, incorporating both dramatic and personal elements. It is not only a unique record of American politics during the height of anti-Vietnam War protest, but a remarkable fusion of creative and factual film-making. Those featured in the film include Bobby Kennedy, poets Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell, photographer Bert Stern, numerous significant New York artists, and the protesting students of Columbia University, whose campus occupation is brutally broken up by the city’s police. The soundtrack includes music by Whitehead and The Nice.

The Fall is being shown on the exact 50th anniversary of its first screening at the ICA in 1969. It will be accompanied by a panel discussion featuring CATHI associate research fellow Dr James Riley (University of Cambridge); one of the film’s assistant directors Sebastian Keep; and its ‘co-star’, the former Italian supermodel and now renowned fashion photographer Alberta Tiburzi, who is flying from Rome to attend.

On Saturday, 9 November there will be a screening of Network’s HD restoration of Whitehead’s Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London (1967), an invigorating, ironic take on the ‘Swinging London scene’, that supplies a remarkable insight into its style and its personalities. Tonite includes interviews with Michael Caine, Julie Christie, Edna O’Brien, David Hockney, and Lee Marvin; and footage of Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones in performance.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring DMU’s Professor Steve Chibnall; long-time Whitehead friend and collaborator Jenny Spires; and one of the people who appears in the film, the former London model Sue Kingsford. Jenny and Sue will look back on the emerging counterculture that Tonite documents.

Interviewer for both panels will be Dr Alissa Clarke (DMU) Co-Curator of the Peter Whitehead Archive

These screenings are a tribute to Peter Whitehead – artist, writer, musician and falconer – who died this summer at the age of 82, leaving his archive in the care of De Montfort University. They are also a curtain-raiser for the release, in a few months’ time, of these extraordinary films in a deluxe Blu-ray box set with hours of additional footage. This material is being prepared by Network and DMU doctoral researcher Robert Chilcott, and will include a 200-page book of articles and archive photographs edited by Steve Chibnall with contributions from a number of DMU researchers and associates, and leading external experts.

Posted on Wednesday 6th November 2019

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