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Nightcleaners
Berwick Street Film Collective 

Film screening 

Nightcleaners (1975) is an experimental documentary film that was made by members of the Berwick Street Film Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott, and Humphry Trevelyan). It tells of the trade-union organization of women who work cleaning office buildings by night under poor and under-paid conditions. Between 1970 and 1972 women who cleaned London’s office buildings were encouraged by the former cleaner May Hobbs, with the support of members of the women’s movement, to organize as a trade union and to fight for better pay and working conditions. The work of the Berwick Street Film Collective concentrated on the cleaners in the London Shell building. It captures the precariousness and monotony of this physically arduous and usually unseen work. Nightcleaners (1975) is a homage to solidarity between the sexes, showing the power of collective action and how a specific campaign for trade-union organization merges with an example of feminist activism in the 1970s.

Artists

Participating artists

Berwick Street Film Collective

The Berwick Street Film Collective was founded in 1970 and produced documentary films up to 1980, based on the individual and collective work of its own small group of members. The films, which were influenced by Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker, are seen as part of the British documentary film avant-garde in the 1970s, addressing some of the most important political and cultural issues at the time, such as the conflict between groups of under-represented workers and workers’ collectives and the political hierarchies in trade unions and governments.