Mile End Purgatorio

« poems A film-poem by Martin Doyle, poet, and Guy Sherwin, film-maker.

‘Mile End Purgatorio’ was first screened as one of a collection of Arts Council-commissioned one-minute film-poems on ‘The late Show’ on BBC2 on 10 June 1991:
‘Most seem to have opted for music rather than text, but of the few who do have a script, ‘Mile End Purgatorio’ is the best, a genuine jeu d’esprit’.(‘Time Out’ TV review of ‘The Late Show’ programme).

‘Mile End Purgatorio’ was also shown on Channel 4 as part of the ‘London Suite / Classic Experimental Films’ series’ in 1993.  Frequently screened at film events since, (including those at the Whitechapel Gallery and the Lux Cinema, and at the Dublin, Osnabruck and Dujazowskie film festivals), and chosen as one of ten London-themed films to celebrate the reopening of the British Film Institute in 2006, ‘Mile End Purgatorio’ has developed a cult following over the years:

‘Mile End Purgatorio (1991) is Guy Sherwin and Martin Doyle’s one minute hymn to the London road via its shop signs. A heady rapid-fire brew of Dante, Shakespeare, the Bible and William Blake, its visual text is storefront correlated, its theme the crisis on the journey, its rhythms all of daily life, and celebratory in its observations of the seemingly known’. (‘Filmwaves’ magazine, 1998).
‘Rather than making a film to ‘illustrate’ a poem or using a poem to ‘accompany’ a film, a number of avant-garde film and video makers have created a synthesis of poetry and film that generates associations, connotations and metaphors neither the verbal nor the visual text would produce on its own. Martin Doyle and Guy Sherwin’s ‘Mile End Purgatorio’ (1991) is a particularly witty example of words on the sound track integrated with words on the screen’. (‘bfi Touring Programme notes’, Autumn 1999).
‘The one-minute ‘Mile End Purgatorio’ (1991)  is a brilliant example of the truly successful partnership of word (Martin Doyle) and image (Guy Sherwin). Concise, witty and fast-paced, it’s difficult to fault’. (‘Sight and Sound’ magazine, October 1999).