Joy Division - The Movie

Posted on: 15 May 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

A rockumentary exploring the real story behind the Salford band.

Ask any rock fan what they associate with the city of Manchester and the odds are the reply would unhesitatingly be 'Joy Division' and in particular their charismatic lead singer Ian Curtis.

Now a revealing and at times brilliant documentary directed by Grant Gee and entitled simply Joy Division charts the band's rise to fame that ended abruptly with the tragic suicide of Curtis at the age of 22.

On 4th June 1976 four young men from ruined, post-industrial Manchester went to see a Sex Pistols show at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. Inspired by the gig that is now credited with igniting the Manchester music scene, they formed what was to become one of the world's most influential bands, Joy Division.

Now, thirty years later, despite a tragedy that was to cut them off in their prime, they are enjoying a larger audience and more influence than ever before, with a profound legacy that resonates fiercely in today's heavily manufactured pop culture.

Featuring the participation of all the surviving band members, now known as New Order, the film examines the band's story as depicted through electrifying, never-before-seen live performance footage, personal photos, period films and newly discovered audio tapes.

There are poignant narratives from Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris, as well as accounts from Throbbing Gristle musician Genesis P. Orridge, late legendary Factory Records owner Tony Wilson, iconic Factory Records graphic artist Peter Saville, photographer/filmmaker Anton Corbin - who made the excellent Control, a dramatised celluloid account of the band, Belgian journalist Annik Honore - speaking for the first time about her intimate relationship with Curtis, and others.

The film not only chronicles a time of great social and political change in England but also lays bare the story of four men who transcended economic and cultural barriers to produce an enduring musical legacy.

Indeed their biggest musical hit Love Will Tear Us Apart, a song imbued with great emotional truth, lingers in the mind long after the credits have rolled which is more than you could say for much of which passes as 'popular music' today.

Joy Division is on general release from 2nd May 2008, released by The Works.

Laurence Green

Web Links

Joy Division movie website:

Photo: portrait of Joy Division photographed in 1979 © Paul Slattery / Retna Ltd

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