Shot mainly on location in the environs of East London, this beautifully-constructed black-and-white fiction feature film portrays the world of those thousands of women who moved to districts such as Spitalfields to work in the clothes trade in the mid-nineteenth century. The film looks at the myths around these women and the romance and class hysteria that surrounded them. It uses both past and contemporary images to make comment on the radical potential of those women and that age, and how that is mirrored today.
The Song of the Shirt deals with subjects as wide-ranging as the history of the welfare state, issues of free trade and capitalism, as well as significantly contributing to debates on feminist history.
The way the film uses intertextuality - graphics, music, modern and contemporary settings - was much discussed in film theory journals such as Screen and Camera Obscura. It was widely screened in independent cinemas, feminist and history events, and in film schools, and has been cited as influencing the work of the next generation of avant-garde film makers.
The Song of the Shirt is enjoying a renaissance since being screened in April this year at the Iniva Gallery. Younger audiences are seeing connections with post-modern and collage styles of film making, that cross the boundaries of fact and fiction.
Leyden Gallery proudly bring The Song of the Shirt to Genesis as part of their newly formed gallery collaboration with co-director of the film Sue Clayton, who has recently participated in the Leyden Gallery exhibition Fabricate, with her wonderful installation called Fournier Street, shown for the first time in October 2013. In addition to the screening, a selection of Sue Clayton's beautiful limited edition photographic prints will be displayed in the Genesis Gallery. We are also delighted to be able