This screening included the following films:
Tattoo (1975) A documentary film based on the art of tattooing, tattoo artists and their clients, with interviews exploring the fascination for, and the reasons behind, choosing to be tattooed. The film builds up to long climactic scene, often since replicated in other films on the subject, featuring tattooed bodies displayed as art objects. Typical of his involvement in his projects, Samson had himself tattooed during the making of the film.
Dressing for Pleasure (1977) explores the subject of fetishism in clothing. The film, which, despite its subject matter, remains playful and light, features cameos from Malcolm McLaren and punk icon Jordan, as well as a host of other curious characters.
Britannia (1978) A group of volunteers work on the restoration of an old locomotive. This unashamedly poetic piece draws strongly on the theme of resurrection as Britannia rises like a phoenix from the ashes of its desolate resting place.
Arrows (1979) is a film about Eric Bristow and the world of competitive darts. In Bristow, already successful and self-assured in his early 20s, Samson finds a compelling figure through which he explores a sport as well as a specific period of British social life and culture.
The Skin Horse (1983) is a ground-breaking a film about sex and disability that won Samson much acclaim. An exploration of body image and identity, The Skin Horse pulls no punches and remains as powerful as ever.
My interview with the producer Mike Wallington for the LIDF catalogue was recently used at the John Samson ‘1975 – 1983’ exhibition in the Gallery Of Modern Art (GoMA) Glasgow, 18 September 2016–17 April 2017.