In 1976 four young men from ruined, post-industrial Manchester went to see the Sex Pistols. They formed a band, Joy Division. Three years later the lead singer, Ian Curtis committed suicide just as they were on the brink of worldwide success. Together Gee and Savage investigate why Joy Division's collective musical genius and singular vision enjoys a larger audience and influence thirty years on.
Featuring the unprecedented participation of the surviving band members of Joy Division, now known as New Order, the film chronicles a time of great social and political change in England of the mid-70's and tells the untold story of these four men who transcended economic and cultural barriers to produce an enduring and profound legacy, one that resonates fiercely in today's heavily careerist music industry and over mediated pop culture.
The band's remarkable story is depicted through atmospheric never-before-seen live performance footage, photographs both iconic and personal, period films and newly unearthed audio tapes; taking us through the band?s early years as individuals finding their voices and then later as a band, building their ideas and ideals. The documentary situates the band not just in the musical context of punk and post-punk but in the culturally starved, claustrophobic landscape of post-industrial Manchester that surrounded them and suffuses every note of their music.
This unparalleled visual account of a time and place is coupled with heartfelt and animated, present tense accounts from the surviving members of the band Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris, plus other key characters in the story, including friend and similarly isolated musician Genesis P. Orridge, the late legendary Factory Records owner Tony Wilson, iconic graphic artist Peter Saville, photographer/filmmaker Anton Corbijn, Annik Honor? and others.
A documentary film about Joy Division, produced by Hudson Productions partners Tom Astor and Tom Atencio and Brown Owl Films' Jacqui Edenbrow, is directed by Grant Gee (Radiohead's 'Meeting People Is Easy') and co-written by acclaimed journalist/writer Jon Savage (England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond).
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Salon.com reviewed the film following that screening. The review highlights director Grant Gee's technical and creative abilities, saying: "He has a knack for nonfiction storytelling: He never resorts to frenetic editing to capture our attention, nor does he bore us to death with expository voice-overs. The performance footage captures perfectly the weird magnetism of the band's live performances. The year 1980 may seem like a long time ago, but Grant's picture is so immediate, and so alive, that it may as well have been yesterday."