Chris Petit's cult classic is one of the most striking feature debuts in British cinema – a haunting blend of edgy mystery story and existential road movie, crammed with eerie evocations of English landscape and weather.
Stunningly photographed in monochrome by Wim Wenders' assistant cameraman Martin Schäfer, Radio On is driven by a startling new wave soundtrack featuring David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Lene Lovich, Ian Dury, Wreckless Eric, Robert Fripp and Devo, and reveals an early screen performance by Sting. Following a young London DJ (David Beames) on the road to Bristol to investigate the mysterious death of his brother, Radio On offers a unique, compelling and even mythic vision of a late 1970s England, stalled between failed hopes of cultural and social change and the imminent upheavals of Thatcherism. Chris Petit interested both the BFI Production Board and Wim Wenders in backing his first feature despite having no previous filmmaking experience. He went on to make more films during the 80s and in recent years has worked in collaboration with psychogeographer Iain Sinclair.