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Jesus Blood

A man walks towards the camera to the sound of 'Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet'.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1973 30 mins


A man walks towards the camera down the end of a street to the sound of 'Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet', a composition by Gavin Bryars based on a loop of an anonymous homeless man singing the song. The man’s voice is progressively intensified by an instrumental accompaniment, which increases in density and richness, before the whole thing gradually fades out. Dwoskin’s film was produced to be shown during the premiere of Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London in December 1972. For Dwoskin, it represents “… the singing voice of the last days of a London drunk (anonymous) as the orchestra raises him to heaven. The faint ghost image of a figure swims gradually to you through the grains of film low light…”

Founded in 1966, the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative started life at Better Books, a counter-culture bookshop on Charing Cross Road, where a group led by poet Bob Cobbing and filmmakers Stephen Dwoskin and Jeff Keen met to screen films. Initially inspired by the activities of the New American Cinema Group in New York, the London Co-op grew into a pioneering organisation that incorporated a film workshop, cinema space and distribution office. During its four-decade history, the Co-op played a crucial role in establishing film as an art form in the UK and participated in a vibrant international film scene. This BFI Player collection brings together new scans of films distributed by and/or produced at the London Co-op.