Saturday, 3 March 2012

Jonathan Hodgson "Nightclub" (1983)

It is entirely possible that my academic career briefly overlapped that of Jonathan Hodgson whose 1983 short, Nightclub, is featured today. Again it is possible I was a youth at the very nightclub Jonathan encapsulates so vividly in his film about a Liverpool drinking hole in the 1980s. Certainly the film closes with a view of the city's cathedral that I recognise so well from my weary, early morning return to my Toxteth digs. Jonathan is one of the UK's directors, moving from Liverpool to the Royal College of Art and thence to a whole string of films and companies. His early piece is an entirely unflattering picture of the scene at that time: smoke filled, alcohol fuelled, aggressive, egos, chests. To a repetitive, pounding beat the men eye the women with a predatory stare. Even the colour has a challenging glare about it. Filmed in 16mm, the loosely sketched figures flicker in and out of an ever-changing landscape. Faces become caricatures, beasts even. But most of all they are lost and alone. This is not an edifying perspective on the human race. Of course, things are entirely different today, less primitive, the sexes more equal, sweetness and light really. Those days were tough. I'm surprised I personally emerged unscathed. Grrr.

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