After the screening we'll be joined by directors Tom Hunter (A Palace for Us) and Zed Nelson (The Street) for a Q&A, hosted by writer and broadcaster Robert Elms.
Screening alongside the 'At Home in Hackney' photography exhibition, all of the films in this programme celebrate representations of the borough of Hackney on screen, from independent documentaries and short films, to Hollywood blockbusters, all using Hackney as a filming location.
A Palace for Us (20min, 2010). This is a magical film. It weaves the memories of people who grew up in east London and have lived on the estate since it opened into a silvery thread of meaning illuminated by dramatisations of their experiences filmed in the aged, but dignified, Woodberry Down buildings and public spaces.
The Street (94min, 2019). As the glinting steel and mirror-glass skyscrapers of London’s financial hub edge ever closer, the area surrounding Hoxton Street has been transformed by ‘luxury’ redevelopments and sky-high property prices. This traditional East London street, less than a mile from the City of London, has become the last bastion of the areas disadvantaged – a concentration of the aged, poor and dispossessed. Hoxton Street’s close-knit working-class community has absorbed waves of immigrants since the 1950’s. But as traditional industry has withered, the latest influx of young urban hipsters followed closely by expensive restaurants, digital media start-ups and corporate property developers has brought with it a deepening social and financial divide. Sensing they have been left behind, the street’s ageing white residents lament the loss of their jobs and former ways of life, echoing the 52% who voted to leave the EU. Set against rapid gentrification, unregulated capitalism, years of austerity, the fallout from Grenfell and the eruption of Brexit, Zed Nelson’s feature-length debut is a revealing portrait of life in London today.
At Home in Hackney: A community photographed 1970s-today. From 1970s activism to the current club scene, the exhibition displays five decades of Hackney life through a camera lens. Featuring work from established and emerging photographers connected with Hackney, these pictures capture the celebrations, disruptions and everyday lives of the borough and its people.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Hackney Museum, East London Photographers Collective and East End Archive.
See the exhibition for free at Hackney Museum and Hackney Picturehouse.