Peter Whitehead

Peter Whitehead – Wholly Communion (1965)

Whitehead’s breakthrough film, the documentation of the great Albert Hall Poetry Festival in ’65, which won him acclaim and awards. Shot handheld with only 45 minutes of stock (the finished film is 33 minutes), and presumably closely distilling much of the tension and event-ness of the celebrated ‘happening’. Verse luminaries include a bill-topping Allen Ginsberg (who reclines into his adoring entourage like a decadent monarch), the gruff, pipesmoking compere Alec Trocchi, an incendiary Adrian Mitchell, and most memorably the stoned heckler who disrupts the wired Harry Fainlight to the delight of the massive crowd. Read More »

Peter Whitehead – The Fall (1969)

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“I ran upstairs to the top floor and took the film out of my cine-camera, put it into a tin and sealed it with tape before dropping it from a window into the bushes below, unseen by the ranks of armed police waiting to free the university from the pagan forces of anarchy. Soon I was walking through the splintered wooden doors with the other students, to be arrested. Eagerly the cops opened my camera (I had been warned) to expose the incriminating film to the light. No film. I collected it the following day. A week later I was flying back to England with twenty hours of film which would later become “The Fall”, and be shown for the first time at the Edinburgh Festival, the last film I would make about the so-called Swinging Sixties; TIME magazine having given the era its belittling name.”

-Peter Whitehead Read More »