Friday, 25 October 2013

80s Artist Film Restorations from the UK

I'm fascinated by William Fowler's task of remastering a lost archive of 80's film work which in part was revealed the other week at the BFI. I went out of curiosity mainly because of the Steven Chivers film made in 1984, 'Catherine De Medicis Part 2' featuring artist Holly Warburton, (who I regularly  worked with at the time) and myself in gothic mode. I confess, I hadn't actually watched in it's entirety so I expected to be embarrassed, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes it is melodramatic, camp and theatrical, it's also beautifully filmed in a stylish and atmospheric fashion. I seem to remember a penchant at the time for these type of themes, I also recall an overlap of social themes of consciousness within our group of friends work which were realized with the basic techniques of super 8 and VHS film with touches chroma key, looking at them today the results are really quite inspiring.

So far Fowler has resurrected the work of Isaac Julien with film 'Territories', a slice of real life set around Nottinghill Carnival and addressing social interaction. Sophie Muller's film 'In Excelsis Deo (In Adoration of God)' imagery revolving around the context of catholic religion and Jennifer Binnie's film 'Grayson/Flowers/Jewels', a touching moment with Grayson Perry and of course the Steven Chivers 'Catherine De Medicis' film.

Still from Jennifer Binnies film 'Grayson/Flowers/Jewels'

A lot of these films were thought to be lost forever, tucked away at the back of draws and cupboards William Fowler has managed to rediscover films that at the time were shown at London's Film Co-op or the ICA. Plans to restore the early work of John Maybury and Cerith Wynn Evans (amongst others) are afoot and next Spring 2014 the entirety of his discoveries will be presented at the BFI Southbank.

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