Banned squatters’ film is to be shown in Norwich at last
A banned 1980s film about squatters is set to get its first screening in Norwich next week, more than 25 years after it was made.
The documentary, entitled “Street of Experience”, was filmed in February 1985 during a controversial eviction of squatters from Argyle Street in Norwich.
Argyle Street made national headlines at the end of the 1970s when it became one of Britain’s most infamous and long-running squats.
Starting on December 6, 1979, 120 squatters moved their possessions into the street and The Argyle Street Alternative Republic was born.
It was not until 1985 that the final eviction of the squatters took place and new homes were built.
The documentary was recorded and directed by Al Stokes, who said the film was not allowed to be screened at the time by Norwich City Council for fear of a reaction from the squatters.
But now it is finally set to be screened at Dragon Hall, in King Street, next Wednesday, as part of the “Roof Over My Head” project.
Mr Stokes said: “For reasons no one could quite work out at the time, Norwich City Council refused it an entertainments licence, effectively banning the film – such was the fear and loathing of the hippy squatters back then.
“I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about, personally. The film was screened in Europe and won awards. But was never shown in the UK.”
The version being shown will be the director’s cut, which includes an introduction from Mr Stokes and digital remastering.
He continued: “Actually, the dim and distant memories of making that film came tumbling back.
“It was the most contentious production I’d ever worked on as film director, up to and including war zones.
“I’d forgotten most of that until Dragon Hall asked to show my film as part of their history project.”
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