Moviedrome! with Shezad Dawood & Ben Rivers

The Big Mess (Der Grosse Verhau) Alexander Kluge, Germany, 1970, 86mins


Doors: 7.30pm £5 in advance (CLICK HERE); £6.50 on door

Borrowing – with excited televisual permission – the title of the much missed late night BBC2 alternative movie strand, this nomadic film presentation series is curated and hosted by acclaimed artist / film-makers Shezad Dawood and Ben Rivers. They join forces to introduce their choice of influential, genre-bending, lost underground and genuinely leftfield films. This second outing in the venture finds them at the Horse Hospital, the London home of the counter-culture, the avant-garde and the underground, and this special programme shows as part of their year long 20th anniversary programme.

It features a cult double-bill of the legendary New German Cinema film-maker Alexander Kluge’s The Big Mess, which will be preceded by a surprise – and much acclaimed - short work that will very much set the scene… (

The Big Mess (Der Grosse Verhau) 1970, 86mins

“The futuristic vision of New German Cinema founder Alexander Kluge, The Big Mess offers a unique and provocative interpretation of sci-fi. In the year 2034, the Kruger star system is dominated by a powerful corporate giant called the Suez Canal Company. Those unable to obtain business licenses of their own eke out a living as rebels or pirates.” – from

Here Shezad Dawood gives us a flavour of the pleasures in store…

“This radical tin-can exploration of the hyper-capitalist corporate takeover of space, complete with scavengers and recidivist communes attempting (hopelessly) to live off the grid, at times measures up to the best 80s sci-fi while, at the same time, a more agit-prop use of inter-titles and industrial sites pulls you back starkly into the realpolitik of the piece. More timely than ever, this offbeat masterpiece needs to be seen to be fully appreciated, and points the way forward to a more relevant, more critical and less inflated cinematic culture…”

Shezad Dawood’s work explores the multiple possibilities engendered by the play between cultures, histories and fictions. Notions of authorship and representation are deconstructed by working with a steady stream of collaborators mapping cross cultural influences and trajectories. Working through film, video and painting Dawood questions the performative process of image making and dissemination, moving through various points of identification and visual systems such as science fiction and the occult. He openly engages with various devices from avant-garde theatre, the conventions of art-house and low-budget filmmaking, to notions of appropriation and a global archive. His latest feature, Piercing Brightness, is currently on general release (

Ben Rivers is a contemporary experimental filmmaker and artist. His work has been shown in many film festivals and galleries around the world and has won numerous awards. His work ranges from themes about exploring unknown wilderness territories to candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects. Rivers's practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, the raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds. Rivers uses near-antique cameras and hand develops the 16mm film, which shows all the evidence of the elements it has been exposed to – the materiality of this medium forming part of the narrative. Rivers' first feature length film, Two Years at Sea, was presented in September 2011 in the Orizzonti section at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI prize. It has been distributed to wide acclaim and released on DVD (

In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, to whom many thanks (