Film Preview: A Dog Called Money

As the sun fades to dusk in Kosovo, five different calls to prayer sing out over the city. Harmonious and discordant, PJ Harvey remarks, “I felt my soul open to the singing.”

PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy have been collaborating for a decade. A Dog Called Money is their magnum opus; a politically and artistically-driven film shot over the course of three years. The pair visited Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the lesser-spoken-of suburbs of Washington DC, exploring misrepresented cultures overlooked by mainstream media.

In A Dog Called Money, Murphy splices these scenes with the recording of Harvey’s last record, The Hope Six Demolition Project. A further daring test to push her boundaries, Harvey recorded Hope Six in a specially-built studio at Somerset House. She then invited the public to come and watch the process. Laughs and jokes are shared, but not to the detriment of the worldwide issues that inspired the material. 

The film explores all aspects of Harvey’s process: the inspiration – those calls to prayer, baptisms, war, music; the recording – songs that made the album, songs that didn’t; and the notes she took while in the field. All of these make it to the screen. At one point, in Southeast DC, a boy takes Murphy on a tour of his neighbourhood, pointing out every spot where a member of his family was shot. At another, a group of children offer Harvey some tea. 

On 1st November, A Dog Called Money will be premiering at the Barbican Centre. As part of the Doc’n Roll Film Festival, the audience will be treated to a screening of the film and a Q&A with director, Seamus Murphy.

In a world where the UK doesn’t know what the fuck it’s doing, A Dog Called Money and its accompanying album, The Hope Six Demolition Project are timely insights into what really matters: art, music, and the fragile bonds of humanity.

A Dog Called Money premieres at The Barbican on Friday 1st November as part of Doc ‘N’ Roll Film Festival, with a Q&A featuring Seamus Murphy. More info here.

Em Burfitt

Women In Film at Doc ‘N’ Roll Film Festival 2018

Having been going since last Thursday, this year’s Doc ‘N’ Roll Film Festival is running an exciting line-up of music documentaries running at various cinemas across London over the next couple of weeks. As if that didn’t sound exciting enough, this year in particular is showcasing the contribution of women to both the film and music industries, with a wide variety of talents both in front of and behind the camera being celebrated.

One of the films being showcased is the story of poet and electro pioneer Anne Clark, I’ll Walk Out Into Tomorrow. Anne Clark turned punk’s creative heat into eloquently cool soundscapes, whose influence, three decades on, is still felt among musicians in Europe and beyond. Via her groundbreaking use of samples and analogue synthesizers in tracks such as ‘Sleeper in Metropolis’ and ‘Our Darkness’, the Croydon-born artist would become a forerunner of the techno generation. This intimate portrait of a famously reticent figure attests to the patience and keen eye of filmmaker Claus Withopf, whose camera accompanied Clark for nearly a decade. Along with compelling live footage dating from the 1980s to the present day, I’ll Walk Out Into Tomorrow focuses on Clark’s recollections of her school days, London’s punk scene, the music industry’s manipulations and deceits, the wilfulness of the human heart, and her enduring love affair with the creative process in all its doubts, detours and discoveries. I’ll Walk Out Into Tomorrow will have its UK premiere at The Barbican Centre at 3.30pm on Saturday 10th November. 

Also screening will be the story of Sweden’s most outspoken Feminist LGBTQ rapper Silvana Imam, Silvana. Silvana is screening on Saturday 10th November at 6pm at Curzon Soho. 

Another film we’re particularly excited about, Stories From She Punks tells the story of women who wrote songs and played instruments in bands in the ’70s, and is made by Helen Reddington of The Chefs and Gina Birch of The Raincoats. The world premiere of Stories From She Punks is screening on Saturday 10th November at 7pm at Genesis Cinema

Lesley Woods, from the film Stories From She Punks.

And perhaps the most poignant of the festival’s offerings, So, Which Band Is Your Boyfriend In? explores gender in the DIY punk scene. So, Which Band Is Your Boyfriend In? sees its London premiere on Saturday 17th November at 6.30pm at Genesis Cinema. 

Marcia of The Skints, from the film So, Which Band Is Your Boyfriend In?

Of the festival, founder Colm Forde explains:

Our 5th London edition is the culmination of five years of relentless DIY spirit – blood sweat and tears from ourselves and a passionate volunteer group of independent film and music fanatics. Along the way, we’ve grown an ever expanding young audience of underserved fans across the UK, while inspiring many flattering imitators and upsetting the industry dinosaurs! Our programme of 28 premiere films includes 16 first-time directors who champion the power of music and film as universal languages of hope and inclusion.

All info and a full listing of films on offer at Doc ‘N’ Roll Film Festival found here.