In Search of Pleasures Past

IN SEARCH OF PLEASURES PAST (Les Roberts & Ryan Shand, 2012)

The AHRC project 'Mapping the City Film', which grew out of an earlier project, 'City in Film: Liverpool's Urban Landscape and the Moving Image' (see here for information), had two main aims: 1) to develop a GIS map of Liverpool film and cinema locations (the former drawing on a online database of location information relating to over 1700 films, the latter consisting of a cultural archaeology of 180 former cinema sites in Merseyside - access map here); and 2) to conduct qualitative and ethnographic research into the history and practice of amateur filmmaking in Merseyside. In Search of Pleasures Past, made with Ryan Shand who I worked with on the project, resulted from our interest in an amateur film made in the early 1970s by Swan Cine Club called Pleasures Past. We had interviewed a number of different filmmakers who had a role in or link to the making of the film and who each provided their own perspective on both the film and its subject: New Brighton as it was in the 1970s, run-down, derelict, and a far cry from its glory days as a popular seaside resort in the 1950s and 60s. The documentary provides insights into New Brighton as a site of popular cultural memory, as well as the cultural history and practices of amateur filmmaking in Merseyside and the important role these filmmakers played in archiving and memorialising everyday urban landscapes. An article about the film, published in Screenworks in 2013, can be accessed here.