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Under the Cranes

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"A polyphonic meditation on time and urban space" (Sukhdev Sandhu, BFI 2012).

"If you let it, a street will grow" says a voice in this film-poem which offers a lyrical, painterly defence of the everyday and a celebration of multiculturalism, even as it poses questions about the process of regeneration.

Shot on location in the London Borough of Hackney, the film interweaves rarely seen archive, super 16mm and super 8mm photography. Slow, still shots of streets, parks, cemeteries and markets are juxtaposed with the East London paintings of Leon Kossoff, Jock McFadyen and James MacKinnon.

With a script based on poet, Michael Rosen's play for voices, a heightened soundscape mixes documentary with poetry, music, song and location recordings. As we slip between past and present, real and imagined, famous and unknown "the world comes to Hackney": From Shakespeare in Shoreditch, to a Jamaican builder, from an 18th Century feminist abolitionist to a Turkish barber, from Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty" to the Jewish 43 Group taking on Oswald Mosley in Dalston, the audience is invited to apprehend the city as fragmentary and multi-layered, "past in the present, present in the past."



Type of film
Running Time
55 mins 55 secs
Super 16mm, 16mm archive, Super 8mm
Emma-Louise Williams 1st Feature
Michael Rosen
Hoping Chen
Michael Rosen
Director of Photography
Conor Connolly
Linda Brenon
Piano performed by Liam Noble
Principal Cast
Michael Rosen, Richard Earthy, Hamza Mohsin, Sally Armstrong, Eileen Pollock, Yetunde Oduwole, Nathan Thompson, Janie Booth, Altan R Koraltan, Cosh Omar, Ben Bazell, Cyril Nri, Gabby Wong, Joe Shefer
Voice Director
Christopher Preston
Assistant Director
Walter Stabb
Location Sound Recordist
Ross Adams
Additional Editing
Enric Junoy
Camera Assistant
Neal Caton

Production status


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Last updated 28th January 2013

Production Company

Emma-Louise Williams
19 Wellfield Avenue
London N10 2EA

+ 44 (0)20 8444 8275
Mobile: +44 (0)7403 185 249