A BAND AND A MOVIE: Radio On + Ted Leo

Ted Leo live! Co-presented by FYF!

Originally rising to fame in the New York hardcore scene of the late ‘80s, and a staple of East Coast independent music since the early ‘90s, Ted Leo has thrown himself into punk and folk, soul and hardcore, the traditional and experimental. With songwriting as infectious and calculated as that of Brit rock legends the Kinks, and rhythms fueled by the anthemic energy reminiscent of bands like the Who and the Clash, Leo has performed in many a context. This jack of all trades and master of several—of Citizen’s Arrest, Animal Crackers, Chisel, Spinanes, The Sin Eaters, The Pharmacists, The Both—brings us his musical stylings and Christopher Petit’s 1979 drop-dead cool Radio On.

One of the only true English road movies, and definitely the hippest, the rarely seen Radio On is a highway film built around its eclectic yet à la mode late ‘70s soundtrack, featuring the likes of Kraftwerk, David Bowie, and Robert Fripp. Shot in contrasty black and white by Martin Schäfer (assistant cameraman to Wim Wenders, who served as producer) the camera surveys the highway and Modernist architecture through the wide and cinematic windshield. In the words of Ted Leo, it’s “punk-noir mystery Candide through the lens of England’s political and social upheavals of the late 70s. Very in my lane.”

Dir Christopher Petit, 1979, 35mm (courtesy of BFI), 104 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!