Fictional documentary by Iain Sinclair in which film-maker Chris Petit goes on the trail of sixties cultural renegade Peter Whitehead, underground filmmaker, writer, occultist and sometime falconer. —BFI
While working as editor of the film section of the London listings magazine Time Out in the mid-1970s, Chris Petit interested Wim Wenders in backing his first feature, Radio On (1979). In spite – or perhaps because – of having no previous film-making experience, Petit pulled off an extraordinary debut, a highly ‘European’ road movie which, greatly aided by the cinematography of Wenders regular Martin Schafer, presented the British landscape, both rural and urban, in a manner quite unparalleled before or since. Moody and angst-ridden, it announced a singular talent – but also one that was clearly not destined to find a niche easily; as Geoffrey Nowell-Smith aptly put it, Radio On was “a film without a cinema”.
Nevertheless, Petit managed to make three more impressive features: a dark, stylised adaptation of P.D. James’ An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1981) and, in Germany, the Fassbinder-ish thrillers Flight to Berlin (1983) and Chinese Boxes (1984). The last two displayed Petit… read more
Iain Sinclair is a British writer and film maker. Much of his work is rooted in London, most recently within the influences of psychogeography.
Sinclair’s education includes studies at Trinity College, Dublin, where he edited Icarus, the Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London), and the London School of Film Technique (now the London Film School).
His early work was mostly poetry, much of it published by his own small press, Albion Village Press. He was (and remains) closely connected with the British avantgarde poetry scene of the 1960s and 1970s – authors such as J.H. Prynne, Douglas Oliver, Peter Ackroyd and Brian Catling are often quoted in his work and even turn up in fictionalized form as characters; later on, taking over from John Muckle, Sinclair edited the Paladin Poetry Series and, in 1996, the Picador anthology Conductors of Chaos.
His early books Lud Heat (1975) and Suicide Bridge (1979) were a mixture of essay, fiction and poetry; they were… read more