Lawrence of Belgravia

A documentary on one of Britain’s most elusive indie stars makes a rare appearance on the big screen this September. ‘Lawrence of Belgravia’ paints a portrait of former Felt frontman Lawrence Hayward — who succeeded in his mission to record ten albums in ten years in the ‘80s, but failed to achieve his dream of breaking into the mainstream.

The Birmingham outfit came close to stardom when ‘Primitive Painters’ topped the UK independent singles chart in 1985. The jangling dream-pop record — produced by Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie and featuring backing vocals from Elizabeth Fraser — is often regarded as the band’s signature track, and its success saw the band sign to Creation Records (Oasis, Slowdive), with whom the band released another career highlight in 1986’s ‘Forever Breathes the Lonely Word’. Felt’s early albums, meanwhile, have been cited as a major influence on the sound of The Smiths.

‘Lawrence of Belgravia’, a contemporary document of the band’s vocalist, was directed by Saint Etienne collaborator Paul Kelly. The screening forms part of a season at the BFI titled ‘The Films of Saint Etienne’ — which also includes the UK premiere of the latter band’s new film ‘I’ve Been Trying To Tell You’ to accompany the forthcoming album of the same title.

‘Lawrence of Belgravia’ screens on Sunday, September 5th 2021, at the BFI Southbank.