Monday, 28 March 2011

Paul Farley reviews Under the Cranes

‘Under the Cranes’ is a wonderfully life-affirming film-poem of place, full of lost time and effacements, reefs of street markets and shop fronts, painted in stock-brick yellows, steel shutter greys and silvery monochromes; and full of people, always people, the voices who have passed this way and called this home. As a collage of the city at its most quick, it has the ache and tug of what has been and gone; as a moving study of resourcefulness, resistance and resilience, it collapses time and returns each story to its street.

Paul Farley, Professor of Poetry, Lancaster University
(Edgelands, with Michael Symmons Roberts, is published by Jonathan Cape)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Who did what

"..lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration…”
Jane Jacobs


A Film by Emma-Louise Williams

Based on a play for voices
by Michael Rosen

Cinematographer  Conor Connolly
Editor  Hoping Chen
Additional Editing  Enric Junoy
Sound Editor  Linda Brenon
Assistant Director  Walter Stabb
Location Sound Recordist  Ross Adams 
Camera Assistant  Neal Caton

Voices in order of appearance

Michael Rosen 
Richard Earthy
Hamza Mohsin
Sally Armstrong
 Eileen Pollock
Yetunde Oduwole
Nathan Thompson
Janie Booth
 Altan R Koraltan
Cosh Omar
 Ben Bazell
Cyril Nri
Gabby Wong
Joe Shefer

Voice Director  Christopher Preston

Piano  Liam Noble 

Recorded at The Premises Studio Hackney Road, London E2
Studio Engineer  Jason Howes

What the film's about

A meditation on place as 
central to our experience of history 

Using the script of poet Michael Rosen’s documentary play, the film is shot on location in the London Borough of Hackney and intercut with rarely seen archive footage, much of which shows the locality’s commitment to social housing. As we hear from the famous  – Shakespeare in Shoreditch, Anna Sewell, Anna Barbauld – alongside a Jamaican builder, a Bangladeshi  restaurant owner or the Jewish 43 Group taking on Oswald Mosley in Dalston, we see past and present streets, parks, cemeteries and markets.

‘If you let it, a street will grow,’ says a voice as the film shows ‘layers of lives’, offering a lyrical, painterly  defence of the everyday even as it raises questions about the process of ‘regeneration’; and while David Cameron claims that ‘multiculturalism has failed’, this film celebrates how ‘the world comes to Hackney’.

In terms of both the visual and the aural, the film heightens the real:  the soundscape mixes documentary with poetry, music, song and location recordings,  while the picture juxtaposes slow, still shots with paintings by East London artists, Leon Kossoff, Jock McFadyen and James MacKinnon.  Breaking with the linear narrative convention, the audience is invited to apprehend the city as fragmentary and
multi-layered. – “past in the present; present in the past.”  

Hackney Canal - oil on board 
by James MacKinnon 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

East End Film Festival

Evening all

I'm delighted to announce that my first film,
Under the Cranes, will be showing at this year's
East End Film Festival 
Saturday 30th April  
Rio Cinema, Dalston

The film is based on poet Michael Rosen's play for voices Hackney Streets and is the culmination of two years work shooting in Hackney, sifting through local film archive and filming some beautiful paintings by Leon Kossoff, Jock McFadyen and James MacKinnon.

Very many thanks to everyone who has worked on the film in any way. I'll be posting the full cast and crew credits later and details of screenings at Arts festivals in the summer.

The film had a little preview taster as part art installation at Red Gallery, Shoreditch where it was projected with several other films at the Hackney Hear launch event on Friday 18th March. People seemed to be enjoying it.

This is Leon Kossoff talking on Channel 4 News not long after his 80th birthday

Michael Rosen