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Every Picture Tells a Story at the BFI Southbank in May

As part of the BFI Southbank’s ongoing Projecting the Archive series, Thursday May 9th sees a special screening of James Scott’s Every Picture Tells A Story (1984), about the early life of the acclaimed British artist William Scott (1913 - 1989).

Son of the celebrated artist, filmmaker James Scott made this idiosyncratic portrait of his father’s early years and his entry into the world of art. William Scott is the subject of a number of centennial exhibitions across the UK this year (including at Tate St Ives, the Jerwood Gallery Hastings, The Hepworth Wakefield and National Museums Belfast).

In Every Picture Tells A Story, the quasi-abstract canvasses are neatly linked with their domestic source material. Scott senior contributes occasional remarks and a heartbreakingly young Natasha Richardson makes her first credited screen appearance as an art tutor.

James Scott has enjoyed a diverse career, ranging from early art documentaries about key 60s figures such as Richard Hamilton and R B Kitaj, to work with the radical Berwick Street Collective, independent features and the Oscar-winning short A Shocking Accident, based on the short story by Graham Greene. Greene said of short that it was the ‘best adaptation of my work outside of my own’.

(A number of Scott’s short films have appeared on BFI Blu-ray and DVD: The Rocking Horse appears alongside The Pleasure Girls; St. Christopher accompanies Private Road; and Love’s Presentation was one of two David Hockney documentary shorts featured with A Bigger Splash.)

The screening programme also includes the short, In Separation (UK 1965, dir James Scott, 5min) and an introduction and post-screening discussion with James Scott.

Scott’s Claes Oldenburg documentary film, The Great Ice Cream Robbery (UK 1971, dir James Scott, 35 min) also screens at the BFI Southbank on Wednesday April 24. It will be presented in its original 2-screen version as part of Double Vision 1: A Twin-Projection Compendium. Key works by leading exponents of the technique explore the possibilities of twin 16mm projection in this two-part series.

Artist William Scott CBE RA (1913 – 1989) was a key figure in European and American art and is considered one of the most influential British painters of the 20th century. In addition to an evolving, Centennial year of exhibitions, which sees the first major survey of the artist’s work for over 20 years, an exclusive and much anticipated Catalogue Raisonné will be published in limited edition by the William Scott Foundation, in partnership with Thames & Hudson. The comprehensive four-volume edition, edited by Sarah Whitfield, will feature almost 1,000 of the artist’s oil paintings, which he created prolifically between 1928 - 1986, as well as unpublished letters, lecture notes and detailed documentation.

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