Time passes so swiftly but it must be about 2 years ago that I ventured down to Brighton with film maker Ben Rivers and archivist William Fowler of the BFI to spend a lovely day interviewing an inspirational figure for all three of us – a filmmaker so underground he has become one of Britain’s best kept secrets.
The video of that interview with the marvelous Jeff Keen is available on a 4 DVD set of his works available from the BFI, and its a lovely release packed with films full of mystery and strangeness. Here’s a clip of one of Jeff’s psychedelic frenzies:
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As he pointed out on that day, if he had chosen to leave his hometown of Brighton maybe his work would be better known. Jeff had also spent much of his life as a gardener, and seemed to have little interest in the world of mainstream cinema.
Sitting in his two room apartment, surrounded by all the props, paintings and redundant home movie equipment that has gone into making these movies for over 40 years was just such a thrill. Some of his paintings resembled those of Robert Crumb, but when I asked if he would sell one in particular, Jeff came over all vague. I would love to own an original Keen!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy his films as much as I have over the years, and I’m glad that the BFI are stepping up to put out works such an uncompromising and profoundly influential filmmaker.