Hackney-based author and filmmaker Iain Sinclair launched his new book, 70×70: Unlicensed Preaching, in an event at the London Review Bookshop last month.
Tagged as A Life Unpacked In 70 Films, the work chronicles Sinclair’s 70th-birthday project, for which he chose 70 films – important to him in some way – to be screened in locations across the capital over the course of a year. Friends and collaborators Chris Petit and Susan Stenger joined the writer in a discussion chaired by film curator Gareth Evans, during which they touched on the changing nature of how we engage with cinema – a key aspect of 70×70.
“This is essentially a curation of memory and of a particular period of life where cinema was important,” Sinclair says, explaining how our experience of catching a film has lost something vital over the years.
“This evening is absolute because it’s now, it can’t be repeated. That’s what we’ve lost in a sense with cinema. What was great in the early days was that we went out and made journeys,” he says.
“Buñuel was on one night only, if you didn’t go there you missed it, you may not see it again for another four years. Now that everything’s available and broken down and atomized, everything’s changed.”
The films written about in the book range from Hitchcock’s Psycho and Godard’s British Sounds to John Mackenzie’s Docklands masterpiece The Long Good Friday, with plenty of obscure gems scattered in between.