This thematically and stylistically wide-ranging collect of films reaches well above and beyond the widespread perception of the disco scene as a gaudy, lycra-slathered boat for peppy escapism to explore its complicated relationship to gender, race, sexuality and memory. Thats not to say it ignores discos main depict: the music. Whether its Summers unbound performance of Last Dance in the L-Aset rarity Thank God its Friday( 1978 ), or John Travolta, as white-suited jiver Tony Manero, tearing it up to the Bee Gees Stayin Alive in the grittier-than-you-might remember Saturday Night Fever( 1978 ).
The centrepiece of and inspiration for the series is the new release of Derek Jarmans documentary Will You Dance With Me ?, which was shot in 1984 and remained unseen until it was unearthed in 2014, some 20 years after the directors demise. What Jarman captured doubleds as an absorbing, evocative period piece. The footage was originally intended as a place test for a forthcoming film to be directed by Jarmans friend Ron Peck, whod debuted in 1978 with the quietly landmark film Nighthawks, which also screens here and was one of the first films to depict lesbian life in a non-sensationalist route.