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  • year. 2016
  • country. UK
  • run-time. 47.49 mins
  • rating. U

£6 (£4.50 conc.)

Doors 6:00PM - Film 7:00PM

This modern take on the 'city symphony' is a striking portrait of Brighton in all its campaigning and bohemian glory set to a sumptuous orchestral score. Bohemian and activist pasts and presents cross-fade; the everyday and the carnivalesque are thrown into relief by the textures, rhythms and tones of music and montage. 

A vibrant score by Ed Hughes animates daily activities and extraordinary events in the seaside town of Brighton, wittily echoing the silent classic, Berlin Symphony of a City (1927). All-weather bathers plunge into winter seas at sunrise. Residents work, commute, flirt and play and do surprising things in their offices. Homelessness and gentrification collide; we glimpse forgotten attractions in sparkling amateur movies from Screen Archive South East. 'Father Neptune' is dunked in a raucous ritual from 1951; 1930s marchers celebrate the anniversary of the Soviet Union and modern protestors commemorate Gaza. The elegant ferris Wheel, a contemporary icon destined for destruction, marks the passage of time. The day culminates in night-time revelry, astounding puppetry and the winter solstice festival, 'The Burning of the Clocks'. A kaleidoscopic view of this unique seaside town, which evokes the past in the present and the extraordinary in the everyday. 

Brighton Symphony of a City was a Brighton Festival Commission for its 50th anniversary in 2016 where it premiered with a live performance of the score by the Orchestra of Sound and Light.


A beautifully shot film... little snippets of everyday life are superbly captured, well thought out and witty.
— The Argus Newspaper
Hughes’s gently pulsating cross-rhythms combined with long-breathed dynamic ebbs and flows... wonderfully capture not only the broad sweep of the city itself but, as with Vigo’s ‘A Propos de Nice’ , the alluring expanse of the sea beyond its shore.
— Mervyn Cooke
A mesmerising film... an ambitious and impressive project. Its strength is in its brave exploration of the ordinary and the everyday, both in terms of contemporary culture and the use of archive.
— Screenworks
Earlier Event: May 13
Later Event: May 16
LIFE DRAWING at Deptford Cinema