News / Film

Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake release The Priest, a short film highlighting homelessness in Manchester

Ex-Smith’s member Johnny Marr and actress Maxine Peake have released The Priest, a short film co-directed by the musician taken from a spoken word album by the pair to be released in 2018.

In a long read by The Guardian, the pair discuss how their creative partnership centred around Johnny’s idea to create a project on “what it feels like to be alive in the UK right now”.

Both Johnny and Maxine are from working class Mancunian backgrounds, therefore The Priest highlights the growing number of homeless people in the city, in both its lyrics and directorial stance. “You can’t avoid it in Manchester,” Johnny Marr told The Guardian. “It touched us both.”

Starring actress Molly Windsor who worked alongside Maxine in BBC series Three Girls, the short follows her around Manchester, homeless and looking for somewhere to sleep and something to eat.
The social conscience of the pair leads the project, in a thought provoking film where Maxine speaks the words of Joe Gallagher, who documented his time being homeless for the Scottish The Big Issue. Despite being written by a man, the words and experiences of homelessness becomes universal spoken in Maxine’s northern accent and lip-synced by Molly, truthfully documenting the daily distresses of living on the streets.

“It’s about asking questions,” Maxine Peake explains to The Guardian. “Everybody’s in a situation, everybody has a story. It’s about finding out why. We take things at face value, don’t we? You form an opinion about something immediately, but you ought to step back a bit. Take in the vista first.”

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Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake: The Priest

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Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake: The Priest

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Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake: The Priest

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Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake: The Priest

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Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake: The Priest