North American Premiere

In 1984, Derek Jarman was doing research for his friend Ron Peck (Nighthawks, also showing in Art of the Real), who was working on a gangster movie to be set within London’s nightclub scene. The chief product of that research was this haunted, transfixing study of one night at a gay bar in East London’s Mile End district. Jarman was one of the earliest British filmmakers to experiment seriously with digital video, and in Will You Dance with Me? he found the format’s ghostly blurring of light and color perfectly matched to his subject. (The chiseled young man whom Jarman studies reverently in the movie’s last minutes would become an actor in his Super-8 work The Angelic Conversation.) “I don’t know that I’ve seen dance better filmed,” BFI curator William Fowler has said of the footage.