This screening fits into our running programme and the theme of essayism, and it is an announcement to the programme In Between Lines of the forthcoming Courtisane Festival in which Offoff and Courtisane present The Song of the Shirt, a unique and influential film by Sue Clayton and Jonathan Curling (1979). It is a study of the position of working women in the 1840's, the effects of protectionist 'philanthropy' and the resistance to it. This work explores the distressing situation of a group of women who are employed in the new 'sweated' clothing business, a pejorative term for workplaces with socially unacceptable working conditions.
The combination of the merciless political content and the disrupted representation makes The Song of the Shirt, in its ambition to be a truthful and independent feminist film, distinct from other contemporary works. Co-director Sue Clayton, graduated from Royal College of Art kept on exploring similar themes in her work with the Independent Filmmakers' Association and Screen Magazine.