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WHAT YOU COULD NOT VISUALISE is an intimate portrait of the short-lived 4AD band Rema-Rema, part of the initial wave of post-punk bands that formed around 1978-1980 after the demise of punk. The band’s innovative and unique sound made them equals to peers we all know today, including Joy Division, The Fall, Wire, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cabaret Voltaire, The Cure, Throbbing Gristle and many more.
Band members Mark Cox, Mick Allen, Gary Asquith, Marco Pirroni and Dorothy ‘Max’ Prior would play only 11 Rema-Rema gigs around London in 1979, and split up before their one and only release, ‘Wheel in the Roses’ came out in 1980 on 4AD. No footage exists of the band live, and only a handful of photos survive, feeding the myth around the band, and its unique and innovative sound, that persists today. But more than 40 years later, thanks to the discovery of old rehearsal tapes and live recordings, Rema-Rema has been resurrected after the release of an album that never saw the light of day at the time.
Director Marco Porsia, whose previous documentary Swans – Where Does a Body End? drew critical acclaim, goes on an archeological exploration to recover the band's unique story and history, and find the driving forces behind their groundbreaking sound, with exclusive interviews from 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell, Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire), Steve Albini (Big Black), John Robb (The Membranes), Bruce Pavitt (SubPop), Jim Thirlwell (Foetus), Gudrun Gut and Bettina Köster (Malaria!), and Rema-Rema themselves. Previously unseen archive and Super 8 footage contributes to the film’s bold, graphically visual style as it explores why Derek Jarman, Adam Ant, David Bowie, Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, Siouxsie and the Banshees are all part of the connective tissue of the story of Rema-Rema. As 4AD founder Watts-Russell notes, “One of the great post punk bands was over before it had begun.” Porsia’s film puts Rema-Rema back in their rightful place in the history of post-punk music.
Event supported by the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery.