Joy Division > Unknown Pleasures: The life/work of Ian Curtis and Joy Division
Joy Division exhibition, Heritage Centre, Macclesfield, 2010
An exhibition about Joy Division curated by Jon Savage from 29 July to 8 August 2010 plus a series of associated events at the Heritage Centre, Macclesfield
Review by Martin Percival
Overall the two days of the Joy Division Film Festival at the Heritage Centre in Macclesfield, forming part of the Joy Division Exhibition, on Sat 31 July/Sun 1 Aug 2010 were fun and it was great to see the 3 feature films on the big screen.
Day 1 started at 2pm with a screening of 24 Hour Party People from 2004. I'd forgotten how good the film was, with the performances of Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson and Paddy Considine as Rob Gretton outstanding.
Next up at 5pm was the Jon Savage/Grant Gee Joy Division documentary from 2007. Savage and Stephen Morris introduced the film and by this time the hall in the Heritage Centre that was being used as a cinema had started to fill up with around 125 people present.
Control commenced at 7.30pm and was followed by a Q&A session hosted by Mark Kermode. On the panel were Stephen Morris, Miranda Sawyer, Jon Savage, Kevin Cummins and Matt Greenhalgh. Also present in the audience were Mick Middles, Lindsey Reade, Gillian Morris and her sisters and no doubt others that I didn't recognise. The discussion on the films was entertaining with the highlight for me personally being when the subject of the humour in the band was being discussed and Gillian shouted from the audience "it all changed when I joined!"
Other interesting points to note that came out of the session were that the short film No City Fun from 1977 had been intended as an extra on the documentary dvd but the film company vetoed this. Each of the panel were asked in conclusion what their defining visual memories of Joy Division were. Most of them refered to photos, live shows and videos but Stephen Morris closed by saying that for him it was dropping Ian off at Barton Street in Stephen's Ford Cortina after a gig and a few moments later seeing Ian being pulled out of the door of the house by his dog Candy on a lead, whilst Ian was also trying to light a cigarette, to take the dog for a late night walk!
All in all a long but good day for anyone who is a film buff and who appreciates the three very different films relating to Joy Division.
On Day 2 the organisers planned to show the never before screened and newly restored footage of the Oct 1979 Plan K Brussels Joy Division gig footage from which a tiny excerpt was included in the 2007 Jon Savage/Grant Gee documentary, plus the whole of the recording of the 2 support slots to the Buzzcocks at the Manchester Apollo also from Oct 1979. Unfortunately after 30 mins the builders outside the venue cut through the mains electricity cable to plunge the building into darkness. 20 minutes later the day had to be abandoned, much to the disappointment of people who had travelled to be there - some from as far away as the US, Poland, Germany and France. As Jon Savage said later "the curse of Factory strikes again". A sad way for what was an excellent initiative to conclude.
More info at joydivisionexhibition.com.
Plan K screening update: Refunds were offered to those who attended the ill-fated screening but a rescheduled screening time has not been announced.