_Blake's Striptease_: A film adaptation of _The Marriage of Heaven and Hell_

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Thanks to the Blake Archive blog for hipping us to this new independent film out of the UK. According to the film's press release, it "uses the context of lap-dancing to show that sin is more than simply an issue of right wrong—good and evil—and is a necessary part of human existence."

The trailer is available on YouTube:

And here's some more from the press release:

(Some indication of the filmmakers' reading of _The Marriage_ can be found in paragraph three).

FLASHGUN FILMS, announce the release of Blake’s Striptease, which represents an artistic interpretation of William Blake’s poem: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-1793). Arguably Blake’s most influential work, the poem has fascinated academics and theologians alike. Set within contemporary society the film uses the context of lap-dancing to show that sin is more than simply an issue of right wrong—good and evil—and is a necessary part of human existence. The film has been submitted to film festivals internationally for screening in the fall.

Set to music by the pianist Erik Satie, the film features a voice-over by Sue Hansen-Styles (used in the Hitman Trilogy) reading a selection of lines from the poem. In line with the poem, the film depicts mans birth into the world as John Symes, lead actor, lies underwater in his bath preparing for his stag night. As the story unfolds John is met by an angel who warns him about his propinquity to sin. John soon meets with his two friends (the peacock and the goat) in a public house where they become intoxicated. During his journey John is revisited by the angel and warned again – but he ignores this advice and the men end up in a lap dancing club guarded by doormen (who play the lions). Here the men observe a striptease where upon the lustful goat attempts to accost the lap-dancer and is ejected by the doormen. Meanwhile John slips away to the VIP room where two tyger lap-dancers lie in wait and he commits the mortal sin of lust – an act that proves to be his undoing. The film concludes with John undergoing a terrifying physical transformation and a quote summarising Blake’s work.

The film is newsworthy as local authorities across the UK try to veto lap-dancing clubs using new legislation passed by Parliament. Moreover, in Italy Anna Nobili, the former Italian lap-dancer from Milan, recently quit after twenty years in the industry to become a nun. According to The Times newspaper, she now performs a “Holy Dance” and now refers to herself as the “ballerina for God” (see e.g., www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6031754.ece). This contradicts the work of Blake who argues that both "The nakedness of woman is the work of God" and "The lust of the goat is the bounty of God".

Flashgun Films are an innovative association of indie film-makers and actors that specialise in music videos, commercials and short films. Thier previous entry to Portobello Film Festival—King Lear of the Taxi—was short-listed for “Best Director” and featured a voice-over from poet, actor and NYC Cab Driver Davidson Garrett. Portobello now stands as the biggest film festival in Europe.

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