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"Peter Whitehead has been a scientist, newsreel cameraman, writer, publisher, falconer, erotic photographer and an occultist. He has lived a rich life of extraordinary, almost hallucinogenic, intensity.

He pioneered a highly subjective, personal style of documentary cinema influenced by the cinema vérité and direct cinema movements that offers audiences a singular vision.

 

Whitehead's films are a unique interaction with documentary, art, politics and the supernatural (in its inventive rather than religious sense).

Whitehead must be placed  firmly at the forefront of cinematic experimentation and proclaims him as a genius of the Documentary Art."

 

Mark Goodall

 

"Peter Whitehead an unsung hero of British cinema, Peter Whitehead’s films represent an extraordinary insight into counterculture movements of the late 1960s in both London and New York."

 

Contemporary Films

PETER WHITEHEAD  

 

Legendary filmmaker, author, lover of some of the world’s great beauties, and falconer to Arab princes, Peter Whitehead was at the heart of Swinging London and the counter culture of the 1960s.  He filmed the Rolling Stones in drag, Allen Ginsberg at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s protest against the Vietnam war, the Presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy, and the students of New York’s Columbia University occupying their campus. Taken together, Whitehead’s films – many of which are directly related to the United States (the Beat poets, Vietnam, student protest) – stand as an unrivaled document of the era. 

 

Whitehead’s work documenting the burgeoning rock and pop scene of the era is equally important. He created some of the first pop promos for Top of the Pops on British television and filmed bands like The Rolling Stones,The Dubliners, Eric Burdon and the Animals, The Shadows and Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, as well as Jimi Hendrix and Nico. In 1970 he photographed and edited Led Zeppelin’s Live at the Albert Hall concert, recently released on DVD.

 

Rarely seen – either in the 60s or more recently – and freshly rediscovered by audiences and historians in Britain, Whitehead’s films have been the subject of retrospectives and lectures across the country and a far, and have been acquired by the National Film and Television Archive in England.

Peter Whitehead Interview Biografilm Festival 2008 (Bologne)

POP PROMOS

Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett - London 66 - 67 ( Full Rare Version )

Jimmy James & The Vagabonds (dir. Peter Whitehead)

The WORD and the IMAGE.

A Retrospective.

THE COMPLETE POP & POLITICAL RETROSPECTIVE OF PETER WHITEHEAD'S FILMS OF THE 1960'S.

 

 

  • PERCEPTION OF LIFE (1964)

  • WHOLLY COMMUNION (1965)

  • CHARLIE IS MY DARLING (1965)

  • PINK FLOYD, LONDON 1966

  • BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT (1967)

  • TONITE LETS ALL MAKE LOVE IN LONDON (1967)

  • THE FALL (1968)

  • THE LITTLE BASTARD IMMEDIATE (1967)

  • THE PROMOS

  • THE ROLLING STONES PROMOS

  • THE BEACH BOYS IN LONDON (1967) 

  • OTHER MATERIAL, INTERVIEWS…..AND RARITIES

2001

NFT1, UK

 

2002

The Other Cinema, UK

The Cube, UK

2006

UCLA, Los Angeles

Alamo Cinema, Texas

Pacific Cinematheque, Vancouver

Yerba Buena Arts Centre, San Francisco

Viennale, Venice

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge Massachussetts

Gijon Film Festival, Spain

Union Theater, Milwaukee

Northwest Film Forum, Seattle

Catalan Institute, Barcelona

Tromso International Film Festival, Norway

Cinemateket Oslo, Norway

Northwest Film Center, Portland, Oregon

Cinematheque Francaise, Paris

 

2007

Cinemteket, Trondheim, Norway

I House, Philadelphia

Filmhuis, The Hague, Holland

Centro Galego De Artes Da Imaxe, A Coruna, Spain

Buenos Aires Film Festival, Argentina

Thessaloniki Film Festival, Greece

Cinematheque Quebecoise, Montreal, Canada

Anthology Film Archives, New York

Belfast Film Festival, Northern Ireland

National Film Theatre, London

ACMI, Melbourne, Australia

Jerusalem Cinematheque, Israel

Vila do Conde, Portugal

Virginia Film Festival, USA

American Cinematheque, Los Angeles

Documentary Film Festival, Copenhagen

 

2008

Cinema L'Ecran, France

Folkets Bio, Malmo, Sweden

Bellaria Film Festival, Italy

Biografilm Festival, Italy

 

FILMOGRAPHY

The Theft. (GB, 1963). B/W, 5 mins. Whitehead’s first film: an experimental short, filmed at the Slade School of Fine Art.

 

 

Parallels. (GB, 1963). B/W, 10 mins. An investigation into the technical production of media and other visual images, and the art of painting.

 

 

The Perception of Life. (GB, 1964). B/W, 20 mins. Commissioned by the Nuffield Foundation Unit for the History of Ideas, this film explores the history of biological theories about life, as revealed by microscopes.

 

 

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds. (GB, 1964). B/W. 20 mins. Promotional film showing the group arriving in England and performing a number of concerts in London. Includes footage of performances in Notting Hill nightclubs and at an open air concert in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

 

 

Wholly Communion. (GB, 1965). B/W, 33 mins. A film of the 1965 Poetry Incarnation at the Albert Hall.

 

 

Pop Promos. (GB, 1966–1972) Colour/B/W, approx. 3–4 mins each:

The Rolling Stones (1966 – 1972):

‘Get Off of My Cloud’

‘Have You Seen Your Mother Baby?’ (Drag version)

‘Have You Seen Your Mother Baby?’ (Live version at the Albert Hall)

‘Have You Seen Your Mother Baby?’ (Slow motion footage)

‘Lady Jane’

‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’

‘Ruby Tuesday’

‘We Love You’

‘Tumbling Dice’

 Promos 1966-1967:

 Nico, ‘I’m Not Sayin’.’

 The Move, ‘I Can Hear the Grass Grow,’ Interview.

 Twice as Much, ‘Crystal Ball.’

 P. P. Arnold, ‘The Time has Come.’

 The Small Faces, ‘Get Yourself Together’ and ‘Itchycoo Park.’

 Murray Head, ‘She Was Perfection.’

 Billy Nichols, ‘It Brings Me Down.’

 The Dubliners, ‘Seven Drunken Nights.’

 Jimi Hendrix Experience, ‘Hey Joe.’

 Eric Burdon and the New Animals, ‘When I Was Young.’

 The Shadows, ‘Maroc 7’ and ‘Bombay Duck.’

 

 

 

Julie Felix at the Albert Hall. (GB, 1966). Colour/B/W, 30 mins.  This film shows Felix performing at the Albert Hall as well as footage of her visit to Africa to inspect projects supported by the World Council of Churches.  

 

 

Charlie Is My Darling. (GB, 1966). B/W, 57 mins. The Rolling Stones documented on         

             their first tour of Ireland: “the first English road movie.”

 

 

Benefit of the Doubt. (GB, 1966–1967). Colour / B/W, 65 mins. A study of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of the polemical play US, under the direction of Peter Brook.

 

 

The Little Bastard Immediate (GB, 1967). B/W, 12 mins. Promotional film made for Andrew Loog Oldham and Immediate Records.

 

 

The Beach Boys in London (GB, 1967). Colour, 30 mins. Cinéma vérité film of the band’s first trip to London that included footage of their live performances.

 

 

Jeanetta Cochrane. (GB, 1967). B/W, 6 mins. An experimental short similar in tone and imagery to The Theft and Parallels. The film was intended to be included as part of the play Oh! at London’s Cochrane Theatre.

 

 

Pink Floyd in London, 66–67 (GB, 1967). Colour, 30 mins. A compilation of footage shot between 1966 and 1967. The Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd is shown at work in the studio, performing onstage at the night club UFO and at The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream.  

 

 

Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London. (GB, 1967). Colour, 70 mins. Whitehead’s ‘take’ on the Time magazine cover story, “London: The Swinging City.”

 

 

Here Come the Nice (GB, 1968). Colour. 12 mins. A second promotional film made for Andrew Loog Oldham.

 

 

The Fall. (GB/US, 1969). Colour, 120 mins. A long-form narrative treatise on protest, violence, and the media. The film moves from protest on the streets of New York to the occupied classrooms of Columbia University.

 

 

Led Zeppelin Live at the Albert Hall (GB, 1970). Colour, 100 mins. A tight, dynamic concert performance by Led Zeppelin at the start of their first UK tour.

 

 

Daddy. (GB/FR, 1973). Colour, 87 mins. Made in close collaboration with the sculptress Niki de Saint Phalle, this film is a series of fantasies and rituals that express her desire to overthrow the power of patriarchy.

 

 

Fire in the Water. (GB/ CH, 1977). Colour. 90 mins. Initially intended as a “Requiem for the Sixties,” this film is an alchemical allegory dealing with the collapse of the personal in an intense engagement with the elemental forces of the natural world.

 

 

Terrorism Considered as One of the Fine Arts. (GB/AT, 2009). Colour / B/W. 155 mins. Whitehead’s adaptation of his own Nohzone novels: Terrorism Considered as One of the Fine Arts, Nature’s Child, and Girl on the Train. A deconstructed, psychogeographical detective story shot on the streets of Vienna.

 

 

Un Film. (GB, 2009). Colour. 2 mins. Edited from footage shot during the making of Terrorism Considered as One of the Fine Arts this short exploits the obscuring ability of film language.

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