(LTM2391: 5024545409093)

Shadowplayers is a feature-length oral history documentary tracing the early history of iconic Manchester label Factory Records between 1978 and 1981.

Facts and fictions are explored through candid interviews with 22 key participants, including Anthony H. Wilson (founder) and Peter Saville (design director), along with musicians such as Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order), Vini Reilly (Durutti Column), Simon Topping and Martin Moscrop (A Certain Ratio), Chris Watson (Cabaret Voltaire), Larry and Vin Cassidy (Section 25) and Howard Devoto (Buzzcocks/Magazine).

Other interviews include members of Crispy Ambulance, The Names, Minny Pops, Swamp Children and Thick Pigeon, as well as other insiders such as Richard Boon, Annik Honoré, Lindsay Reade, Richard Jobson, Graham Massey and Killing Joke.

The DVD runs for more than 2 hours and is divided into 19 chapters, each covering specific subjects such as The Factory Club, sleeve art and graphic design, producer Martin Hannett, the riot at a Joy Division concert at Bury in April 1980, links with Brussels and Factory Benelux, the tragic suicide of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, the beginnings of New Order, and the decline of the post-punk culture in 1981.

Shadowplayers is based exclusively on spoken word interviews, with soundtrack music by New Order and Section 25, and rare images and graphics. The cover art is based on the first Factory poster design (Fac 1) by Peter Saville. The DVD is Region 0 NTSC format. Bonus features include individual profiles for each interviewee.

DVD chapters:

1. USE HEARING PROTECTION - The Factory Club, May 1978 to April 1980
2. A FACTORY SAMPLE - 2x 7" single (Fac 2) released January 1979, featuring Durutti Column, Cabaret Voltaire, John Dowie and Joy Division
3. FACTORY FOREMEN - Five heterosexual directors: Tony Wilson, Alan Erasmus, Peter Saville, Rob Gretton and Martin Hannett
4. UNKNOWN PLEASURES - Joy Division's debut album (Fact 10) was released in May 1979, produced by Martin Hannett
5. ZERO - Martin Hannett, record producer
6. SITUATIONIST GROUP - Vini Reilly and The Durutti Column housed their first album (Fact 14) in a glasspaper sleeve
7. THE THIN BOYS - The first single by A Certain Ratio, All Night Party (Fac 5), appeared in May 1979. With no drummer
8. LARRY & VINNY - Section 25 are from Blackpool. Ian Curtis and Rob Gretton produced their first single (Fac 18)
9. GET IN THE VAN - Heads, tales, Cocks and Jokers on the road
10. RUE DE MANCHESTER - Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire play Plan K, Brussels, 16 October 1979
11. THE RAINBOW - On 4 April 1980 Joy Division played two London venues, The Rainbow and The Moonlight Club
12. FACTORY BENELUX - Friends in Belgium (and Holland)
13. DISORDER - Bury Derby Hall, 8 April 1980
14. IN A LONELY PLACE - 18 May 1980. On the eve of Joy Division's first American tour, Ian Curtis hangs himself at home in Macclesfield
15. BENEATH THE PAVEMENT - New Order debut at The Beach Club, Manchester, on 29 July 1980. U2 go home
16. OF FACTORY AMERICA - New Order and ACR in New York, September 1980
17. FUTURISTS - The first New Order album, Movement (Fact 50), was released in November 1981
18. CHOIR BOYS - Schoolboy lyrics and timbales: Vini Reilly and Simon Topping
19. LIKE PUNK NEVER HAPPENED - 1981: new pop, old ways


"The stark succession of talking heads shares the pure austerity of Peter Saville's famous Factory artwork. The designer himself has lots to say, as do Anthony Wilson and Peter Hook. The best quotes, though, are from and about Section 25" (Word, 8/2006)

"Contains plenty of fascinating data for the hardcore fan" (Sight & Sound, 05/2007)

"Golden memories from the defunct indie label's insiders. There's something about the Factory label that doesn't age. This film concerns the imprint's early period and contains 24 interviews with players big and small, and it's a tale rich in drama, inspiration and strangeness. Four stars" (Q, 09/2006)

"Exploring the facts and debunking the myths, an in-depth and intelligent documentary that follows the rise of Factory through honest and revealing interviews" (Rotten Tomatoes, 2006)

"The story covers Factory Records' inception, from Tony Wilson's initial vision for A Factory Sample, to the nervous emergence of New Order from the shocked debris of Joy Division. Director James Nice must be commended for allowing it to move at a reasonable pace, and he broadens the story in an effortless and accessible manner. As ever, Tony Wilson hovers between the profound and the absurd, while the true worth of Shadowplayers lies in the supporting cast of 'shadowplayers' such as Lindsay Wilson and the intriguing Larry and Vin Cassidy of Section 25. For those new to this cycle of myth and lies, Shadowplayers offers a glimpse beyond Joy Division and the dominance of Anthony H." (Record Collector, 09/2006)

"Quite honestly one of the most captivating documentaries I've ever watched, this superb DVD concentrates on the first four years of Factory, exploring the almost endless facts and fictions of those seminal years 1978-1981. This works so well because of the vast wealth of information it has to offer, not only to followers of Factory but also anyone with an interest in the history of independent record labels, the industry as a whole, graphic design and the subtle art of communication, packaging and unwillingness to compromise. It's the small ancdotes that make this all most memorable. A genius documentary, and an utterly essential purchase" (Boomkat, 08/2006)

"A great two-hour DVD, countering a lot of the myths perpetuated by the 24 Hour Party people film, with a series of candid, revealing interviews and tight editing. Reinforces the uniqueness of the period and the people" (Cyclic Defrost, 08/2006)

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