Anthology Film Archives


August 30 – September 1

This outrageous double offering brings together major preservation efforts recently undertaken by the British Film Institute of two far-left-of-center figures from the British counterculture.

Artist, filmmaker, and performer Bruce Lacey (born 1927) is one of England’s great visionary talents. Known for his unpredictable kooky humor and strong political views, as well as his idiosyncratic art practice, he was an omnipresent force in the swinging scene of 1960s London who exerted considerable influence on post-war subterranean culture. With his wife and collaborator Jill Bruce (now Smith), Lacey presented lively community art, bright pagan-style rituals, and out-there experimental theatre. He has been a familiar face on British film and TV too, stepping out with the likes of The Beatles and the Goons. In his own offbeat and vibrant films, he works both in front of and behind the camera, using play and performance to question notions of reality and undermine the status quo.

Jeff Keen (1923-2012) was one of the most highly productive, undeniably unique exponents of the British underground. An artist who worked in every known medium, Keen’s works charge forward with an explosive energy that transcends rational categorization. His electrified films employ all variety of animation and single frame techniques, not to mention exquisitely-crafted noise soundtracks, to discombobulate the senses. Overwhelming, and at the same time deeply satisfying, Keen’s works are far too little-known on these shores, and this selection of astounding restoration prints brings us some of the best of his prolific output.

All films in this series have been restored by the British Film Institute, who have also recently released a DVD entitled THE LACEY RITUALS: FILMS BY BRUCE LACEY (AND FRIENDS) which features the Lacey works screening here alongside additional films, clips, and documentation. A stunning multi-disc set of Keen’s work was released by the BFI a few years back and there is no reason that you should not already own it.

Special thanks to William Fowler, Phil Roberts & George Watson (BFI), and to Stella Keen.

For more info, or to purchase the BFI’s Bruce Lacey DVD, visit:

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