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Author Topic: Radio On (Christopher Petit, 1979)  (Read 2500 times)

Wes

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Radio On (Christopher Petit, 1979)
« on: 20 Apr 2009 - 15:51 »

Any fans of this enigmatic road movie here ? I first heard of this film some years ago while poring over the pages of the Time Out Film Guide who were swooning over its soundtrack of Bowie, Kraftwerk, Robert Fripp etc. The film which lifts some of its plot from Get Carter has a guy drive from London to Bristol to investigate his brother's death (which rather mysteriously, we never quite know how or why it happened). Along the way, he picks up an crazed soldier escaping from his regiment in Northern Ireland, talks music with a garage attendant (played by Sting) and gets involved with a German woman searching for her child... It sounds like a typical road movie but Radio On, shot in black & white is a slow, moody intense look at an England that looks exhausted and spent. The film was a British-West German co-production, with the West German money courtesy of Wim Wenders' Road Movies company. Not surprisingly the film bears a kind of resemblance to Wenders' own Kings of the Road...

The DVD from BFI presents the film as best it can - it still looks grungy as hell but appropriatly so I think. Disc comes with a booklet, a comprehensive interview with the director and producer, a short experimental video piece with music by Wire's Bruce Gilbert
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Paul

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Re: Radio On (Christopher Petit, 1979)
« Reply #1 on: 22 Apr 2009 - 09:14 »

I've heard great things about this flick, Wes, but have never seen it. I'm pretty sure the journey the central character takes is along the A303, right? This is the route the wife and I always take when we go down to see her parents in Devon.
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Wes

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Re: Radio On (Christopher Petit, 1979)
« Reply #2 on: 22 Apr 2009 - 09:31 »

Hey Paul, not sure exactly where the film was shot (I'm posting from Ireland) but its a grim treck all the same.... The visuals have a sort of Joy Division greyness to them if you know what I mean by that awkward analogy... Definitely see the film if it comes your way...
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Fearlono

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Re: Radio On (Christopher Petit, 1979)
« Reply #3 on: 12 Jun 2009 - 16:39 »

Watched this for the first time last weekend and it blew my mind (with a little help).

Any fans of Eno-era Bowie can't afford to miss this one for the first six and a half minutes alone !

Made me want to drive up and down England in black and white for the weekend.
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Phill

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Re: Radio On (Christopher Petit, 1979)
« Reply #4 on: 12 Jun 2009 - 20:18 »

Like you Wes I discovered this in the Time Out Film Guide years ago and have been wanting to see it since, so I bought it as soon as it came out. I've watched it three times since and really rate it, the soundtrack is a killer and although murky there's some beautiful photography. Part Get Carter part Two Lane Blacktop and a whole lot of Wenders. I really would like to see Petit's and Ian Sinclairs The Cardinal And The Corpse since it features three of my favourite writers, Moorcock, Alan Moore and Derek Raymond. Petit seems to be solely writing spy thriller novels these days, pity as this film showed a lot of promise.
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Wes

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Re: Radio On (Christopher Petit, 1979)
« Reply #5 on: 13 Jun 2009 - 11:06 »

Spot on reference there Phill with Get Carter and Two-Lane Blacktop. If I had seen Radio On with no prior knowledge of the film, I would have assumed it was a European movie - it definitely has a Euro-sensibility to it, like Two-Lane Blacktop wears the influence of Antonioni. Is the BFI edition the first time this has appeared on home video ? I checked the Pre-Cert Database earlier and no sign. Its the kind of thing Palace would have put out back in the day...
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