You can watch this 20 minute film for free on the BFI website. I was commissioned to make a short film to launch their new collection. The brief was completely open although they wanted me to shoot some new material of some of the places and people who appeared in the archive. After watching hundreds of hours of archive, I was struck by the enormous optimism of the post-war utopian vision about slum clearance and the building of council estates intended as palaces for working class people. That vision has become corrupted and housing remains a key issue in our cities today. My wonderful editor Alex Fry and I made it together and I think did something interesting with the soundtrack.
One of my favourite moments is following Linton Kwesi Johnson into Brixton Market in the 70’s with him saying it felt to him like Kingston Jamaica then cutting to the market as it is now, full of white hipsters and Champagne and Fromage bars. It brilliantly shows the gentrification – arguably another word for genteel ethnic cleansing – of our inner cities.