Directed by Chris Petit
$12 / $8 Speed members
“By any measure, among the coolest films of the late 1970s.”—New York Film Festival
Chris Petit’s debut feature, Radio On, is the rare road movie from England. Since its 1979 release, it’s become a cult classic. London DJ Robert (David Beames), the film’s enigmatic protagonist, embarks on a road trip from London to Bristol to investigate the recent death of his brother.
A remarkable collection of art rock, punk, and New Wave—David Bowie, Devo, Kraftwerk, Robert Fripp, Ian Dury, (and an early performance by Sting), and more—soundtracks Robert’s journey. The austere urban and rural landscapes he drives through are beautifully and strikingly rendered in black and white by Martin Schäfer (who had been Wim Wenders’ assistant cameraperson). As Robert drives westward, the radio newscast he hears and the strangers he meets address the dire sociopolitical and economic state of “Winter of Discontent”-era Britain.
Radio On offers a unique, compelling, and mythic vision of the late-1970s England stalled between failed hopes of cultural and social change and imminent upheavals of Thatcherism. 1979, U.K, 4K DCP, 104 minutes. Recommended for 16+.