Screening: The Song of the Shirt

Press Release Song of the Shirt screening Poster

Leyden Gallery is pleased to present a screening of the 1979 feature film The Song of the Shirt at Genesis Cinema on Tuesday November 19th 2013 at 6:30pm.

The film will be introduced by its directors Sue Clayton and Jonathan Curling. This screening of The Song of the Shirt represents a rare opportunity to see this seminal film, which has not had a cinematic showing for over three decades. The film was released at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1979, and was received and reviewed along with films like Mulvey and Wollen’s Penthesilea and Sally Potter’s Thriller.

Shot mainly on location in the environs of East London, this beautifully-constructed black-and-white fiction feature film portrays the world of those thousands of women who moved to districts such as Spitalfields to work in the clothes trade in the mid-nineteenth century. The film looks at the myths around these women and the romance and class hysteria that surrounded them. It uses both past and contemporary images to make comment on the radical potential of those women and that age, and how that is mirrored today. The Song of the Shirt deals with subjects as wide-ranging as the history of the welfare state, issues of free trade and capitalism, as well as significantly contributing to debates on feminist history. The way the film uses intertextuality – graphics, music, modern and contemporary settings – was much discussed in film theory journals such as Screen and Camera Obscura. It was widely screened in independent cinemas, feminist and history events, and in film schools, and has been cited as influencing the work of the next generation of avant-garde film makers.

The Song of the Shirt is enjoying a renaissance since being screened in April this year at the Iniva Gallery. Younger audiences are seeing connections with post-modern and collage styles of film making, that cross the boundaries of fact and fiction. Leyden Gallery proudly bring The Song of the Shirt to Genesis as part of their newly formed gallery collaboration with co-director of the film Sue Clayton, who has recently participated in the Leyden Gallery exhibition Fabricate, with her wonderful installation called Fournier Street, shown for the first time in October 2013. In addition to the screening, a selection of Sue Clayton’s beautiful limited edition photographic prints will be displayed in the Genesis Gallery. There will be a Special Gallery Limited Edition DVD of The Song of the Shirt along with the original Other Cinema poster of the film. All of the Fournier Street prints and the Song of the Shirt DVD are available to purchase, or order at the Genesis screening event through Leyden Gallery.

Following the screening Sue Clayton and Jonathan Curling will be available at the private bar for informal discussion, and to sign posters and DVDs. The Song of the Shirt will be screened at Tate Liverpool in March 2014 as part of the Keywords exhibition, where a day-long workshop is planned around this film.

To book tickets for this screening please contact:

Genesis Cinema, 93 – 95 Mile End Road

Whitechapel, London, E1 4UJ or telephone 020 7780 2000


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