History in the Unmaking

Compelling and prophetic. A sad and telling inditement, yet I found it wonderfully sardonic and life-affirming – Andrew Kötting

A charming, faintly eccentric but fundamentally serious investigation into a mysterious crime in the second city: in which somebody killed the future, and then attempted, almost successfully, to hide the evidence – Owen Hatherley

A micro budget masterpiece of flâneurie. The sloshing of time, the misunderstandings of Brummies, the hopes, the dreams, the slacker skateboarders, the everyday ennui: it's all captured with Sinclair-ian wit and Meades-ian whimsy – Christopher Beanland

Note: Paradise Lost will not be available for streaming until further notice. Join the mailing list for future announcements. For general enquiries see contact details below.

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Screenings and Festival Selections

  • Melbourne Design Week Film Festival, Lido Cinemas, Melbourne, Australia, 21+28/05/23.
  • REAL Documentary Festival, Phoenix Leicester, UK, 22/04/23.
  • Budapest Architecture Film Festival, Toldi Cinema, Budapest, Hungary, 04/03/23.
  • Crossing Europe Film Festival, Linz, Austria, 26/04-01/05/23.
  • The Electric Cinema, Birmingham, UK, director Q&A hosted by Michael Dring of the Birmingham Modernist Society, 01/11/22.
  • The Czech Centre, Berlin, Germany, with video-call director Q&A. Hosted by Prague Film and Archicture Festival, 24/10/22.
  • Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam, Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam, Netherlands, part of the Brutalist Legacies programme, 06/10/22.
  • Film and Architecture Festival, Centre for Architecture and Urban Planning, Prague, Czech Republic, 04/10/22.
  • MIASTOmovie Festival, New Horizons Cinema, Wrocklaw, Poland, 28/09/22.
  • Birmingham Heritage Week, The Warehouse Cafe, Birmingham, director Q&A hosted by Joe Holyoak, 15/09/22.
  • Architecture + Design Film Festival, Cinematheque, Winnipeg, Canada, 08/04/22.
  • Twentieth Century Society, online screening, director Q&A hosted by Otto Saumarez Smith, 23/11/21.
  • Back to the Future exhibition, Artefact, Birmingham, UK, screening + director Q&A hosted by Lee Mackenzie, 06/11/21.
  • Resonate Festival, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, UK, director Q&A hosted by Otto Saumarez Smith, 20/10/21.
  • Plymouth University, UK, with panel discussion, part of Regeneration and Urban Heritage session with Jeremy Gould, 18/10/21.
  • Flatpack Festival Autumn Edition, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, UK, Q&A with director and Pete Ashton hosted by Cathy Wade, 26/09/21.
  • Flatpack Festival, online screening, director Q&A hosted by Christopher Beanland, 24/05/21.


Alison Gillmore for Winnipeg Free Press 06/04/22

"Wryly funny and gently melancholy, […] the journey is thought-provoking, personal, wandering, weird and filled with deadpan English humour."

Josh Allen for Flatpack Festival 27/08/21

"My main takeaway was a renewed conviction that the public realm, and weird, possibly slightly sad, but open-ended spaces in the city must be fought for, that we must defend and seek to expand 'the right to the city'."

Phil Smith for Mythogeography June 2021

"Paradise Lost creates an engrossing, always entertaining and subtly intelligent infrastructure and then, in one swift and neatly understated feint, it takes us right down into the gravel of utopia…"

Director interviewed by David Baldwin for Filmwire 26/04/21

"Paradise Lost is structured like a walk, in that it sets out without a clear sense of a destination, and it meanders a bit and discoveries are made almost by accident. Bit by bit the story is pieced together and hopefully it all resolves into something satisfying by the end."

Paradise Lost, History in the Unmaking is a feature-length essay film about Birmingham Central Library and the death of Modernism. When filmmaker Andy Howlett set out with his camera to document the final days of the condemned Brutalist complex, little did he know the rabbit hole he was stumbling into…

Decried by the Council as an eyesore, but hailed by Historic England as an exemplar of postwar design, the story of John Madin's concrete colossus and the fight to save it is a curious one. In this psychogeographic detective story, Andy Howlett weaves together archive footage with on-the-ground explorations in an attempt to figure out what went wrong with yesterday's future.

Poster design © Charlie Best, photo © Pete Ashton