Joy Division on film:
       
Cinema Releases
  24 Hour Party People (2002)
Control: The Ian Curtis Film (2007)
All The Time (2007)
Joy Division (2008)
Short films
  A Factory Flick
Malcom Whitehead's film
Which Joy Division concerts were filmed?
  Bowden Vale March 1979
Leigh Festival August 1979
Plan K October 1979
Apollo October 1979
Rainbow Theatre 1979
Eindhoven 1980
Club Vera 1980 
       

Cinema Releases:

       

24 Hour Party People - Click to go to full listing

Control: The Ian Curtis Biopic - Click to go to full listing

       

Short Films

       

The Factory Flick (Factory FAC 9 1979)

An 8mm film premiered at the Scala Cinema, London, on September 13 1979, comprising:
No City Fun - Joy Division (12 min)
All Night Party - A Certain Ratio (3 min)
Red Dress - Ludus (3 min)
Joy Division - a film by Malcom Whitehead (17 min) - see listing below for details

No City Fun was filmed by 20 year old Charles Salem. Based on Liz Naylor's article in Manchester City's City Fun fanzine, it features music from Unknown Pleasures. 
       

Joy Division - A Film By Malcom Whitehead

This 17 minute film was included in The Factory Flick - see above listing.

Features footage of the band in rehearsal at TJ Davidson March or April 79 with various soundtracks dubbed over the top including speeches by Anderton (the Manchester Police chief at the time) and the SS oath of allegiance. There's an interview with Joy Division's manager Rob Gretton recorded March 23rd 1979 and 3 songs fom Bowden Vale 14 March 79. We guess these are probably the same ones that are on the Substance video ie She's Lost Control, Shadowplay, Leaders of Men.

Apparently this was considered for inclusion on the Here Are The Young Men video but the band didn't like the idea. 
       

Which Concerts were filmed:

 
Note: Song 1 etc indicates where the song was in the setlist on the night of the concert.
       

Bowden Vale Youth Club, Altrincham, 14 March 1979

 
She's Lost Control (released on Substance) Song 1 on the night
Shadowplay (released on Substance) Song 2 
Leaders Of Men (released on Substance) Song 3
 
Filmed on Super-8. These are the first 3 songs of the concert and Leaders Of  Men is cut short. 
A 200 ft Super-8 cartridge running at 24 frames per second would only last 12 - 14 minutes before cutting out and that's what appears to have happened here. This piece of film is actually less than 12 minutes long but there appear to be two camera angles, one from the back of the audience, and one from the back of the stage. Perhaps the cameraman ran to the back of the stage to get footage during a later song and those images were edited into the tracks above.
Click here for Super-8 technical info.
 
       

Leigh Festival 27 Aug 79

 
There has been a persistent but unlikely rumour that the Leigh Festival performance was filmed and early in 2007 someone who was heavily involved with the planning and running of the event stated he'd been handed the film by one of the festival crew. It supposedly included the entire Joy Division set along with backstage footage including Ian Curtis. Recorded on film not video, with sound, and described as "pretty good" quality it seemed too good to be true ...

It's now several years on and so far no evidence has emerged to prove any film exists. Not even a screen shot.
 
       

Plan K, Brussels 16 October 1979

 
In May 2005, Brian Nicholson from ikon& unearthed the video of the whole concert. and exerpts were shown as part of the 25th Anniversary evening at Barzooka in Blackburn. This is the only known copy of this footage.

The video is second generation, 42 minutes long, and most of the songs have been crash edited on to this tape at some point. The original footage was shot on an early domestic VHS portapak set up.

LWTUA (with about 1 min missing from the start)
Wilderness
Disorder
Colony
Insight
24 Hours
New Dawn Fades
Transmission
Shadowplay
She's Lost Control
Atrocity Exhibition
Interzone (the encore)

We always knew at least part of this concert was filmed as there is some slow motion footage on HATYM. However that was all we knew for 25 years.

It is possible that it was filmed for a planned TV documentary as Ian Curtis mentions this in the Alan Hempsall interview / feature 'A Day Out With Joy Division'

"In Belgium we did this TV show, it was a compilation of various things. There was us, Cabaret Voltaire and William Burroughs who was reading from his new book "The Third Mind". Afterwards we got introduced to him and I asked if he had any spare but he hadn't. As well as that there was these guys on the show making nasty noises on violins and shouting every so often, really awful." - Ian Curtis

We have never heard of any such documentary and, of course, Ian may have been misquoted or simply assumed the film was intended for TV.




thanks to ikon&
for the screen grabs


Click here for
more screen grabs

       

Apollo, Manchester 27 Oct 1979

 
Dead Souls (HATYM & Substance) Song 1 on the night
Wilderness (released on Substance) Song 2
Love Will Tear Us Apart (HATYM) Song 5
Shadowplay (released on HATYM) Song 6
She's Lost Control (HATYM) Song 7

There were 8 Songs in total on the night
 

The Apollo gigs were recorded on VHS by Richard Boon.

Tony Wilson took them to London and put them through a standards converter for HATYM. He doesn't know if there's complete footage of gigs or where the original VHS recording is.

An Ideal For Living book by Mark Johnson says the entire concerts were taped. This is probably correct - but  when it came to compiling the Here Are The Young Men and Substance videos they probably decided to use the higher quality Super-8 films of songs wherever possible.

 

   

Apollo, Manchester 28 Oct 1979

Sound Of Music (HATYM) Song 1 on the night
Colony released on the iTunes version of Joy Division +/- Singles 1978-80 in 2010
Day Of The Lords (HATYM) Song 4
24 Hours (unreleased) Song 5 *
Disorder (unreleased) Song 6 *
They Walked In Line (HATYM) Song 7
I Remember Nothing (HATYM) Song 8
Transmission (encore) (HATYM) Song 9

There were 9 songs in total on the night

 
     
* 24 Hours and disorder were unearthed by Brian Nicholson from ikon& in May 2005 and were shown as part of the 25th Anniversary evening at Barzooka in Blackburn.
       

Rainbow Theatre, London 9 & 10 November 1979

 
According to "The Factory Story" the final 2 Buzzcocks tour gigs 9 & 10 November 1979 were heavily taped & filmed. We suspect they're getting mixed up with the films of the two Apollo gigs above.  
       

Eindhoven 18 Jan 1980 (recorded on Super-8)

 
Digital (released on HATYM) Song 2 on the night
New Dawn Fades (HATYM) Song 3
Colony (HATYM) Song 4
Autosuggestion (HATYM) Song 10
 
There were 16 songs in total

Filmed on Super-8. Each song appears to have been filmed on a separate 50 foot cartridge which would last 2 minutes 30 seconds at a film speed of 24fps (frames per second). The movement on Autosuggestion looks a little strange because they slowed the speed down to 18fps in an attempt to fit the whole song on.
Click here for Super-8 technical info.
 
       

Club Vera, Groningen, The Netherlands 19 Jan 1980

 

It has been rumoured that this venue had a policy of videotaping concerts at this time. However we contacted the venue and they were adamant they didn't start doing this until long after the Joy Division gig. It's also been rumoured the concert was filmed for TV.

In 2005 our friend Andre contacted us - inspired by the fact that the Club Vera in-house magazine had referred to the concert being filmed he had tracked down the archives of the TV company concerned to see what he could find out:

Here's what he told us:

A couple of years ago the club VERA magazine wrote that VPRO-television broadcast parts of the concert Joy Division gave at the 19th of January 1980 at club VERA, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Research at the archives of Dutch television (NIBG) revealed the following:

From September 1979 to April 1980 the Dutch broadcast corporation VPRO broadcasted a youth program called NEON. It was about punk and anarchy, and they also broadcast fragments from concerts by punk and new wave bands.

The sixth broadcast (17-02-1980) had parts from The Eindhoven concert Joy Division gave: one minute and fifteen seconds, with parts of "New Dawn Fades" and "Autosuggestion".

Although another concert fragment of two minutes and two seconds in the seventh broadcast (16-03-1980) was announced as Joy Division, it was actually Gang of Four performing their song "Damaged Goods", probably live at the VERA-club at the 17th of February 1980.


So, we're still not sure. Andre bought copies of the tapes so he knows the second one features the Gang of Four, when the VPRO documents say it was Joy Division. Does that mean that the concert wasn't filmed.? It's hard to say, the rumours persist ... and maybe VPRO have an unmarked tape somewhere in their cellars ...