Prelude #1: The Song of the Shirt

Dirs. Sue Clayton and Jonathan Curling, 1979, digital, 135 minutes.


Friday 29 January, 6pm-9pm, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1.
This event is free, but please register here.
Screening and discussion of The Song of the Shirt, followed by Kodwo Eshun in conversation with Sue Clayton after the screening.


‘An investigation into the position of working women in the 1840s, the effects of protectionist ‘philanthropy’ and the resistance to it. Explores the plight of a group of women working in the new ‘sweated’ clothes trade in London. […] Originally intended as a history of the welfare state, as well as a contribution to debates on feminist history, The Song of the Shirt is constructed as a documentary, although the use of multiple-screen effects, monitors displaying text and projected backdrops constantly disrupts the flow of information. Few dates are revealed in the film, forcing us to address the arguments rather than the chronology. […] The Song of the Shirt’s combination of relentless political content and a dislocated and disruptive presentation makes it stand out from its contemporaries in its ambition to present a genuinely feminist independent film.’ (Screenonline)

Organised by Michael Temple, Sarah Joshi, and Laura Mulvey, on behalf of Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image.

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