Anja Kirschner and David Panos: The Last Days of Jack Sheppard (3 stars)

Anja Kirschner and David Panos: The Last Days of Jack Sheppard

The story of the 18th century thief told through contemporary eyes

The Last Days of Jack Sheppard showcases a film, placed among its filmic sets alongside rare archive material. It tells the story of the notorious 18th century English thief and proletarian hero, Jack Sheppard, through contemporary eyes.

The hour long period drama explores the representation of Sheppard’s hedonistic character, who operated within the era of Britain’s first recorded financial crisis, known as the South Sea Bubble when speculation led to financial ruin. Four times Sheppard was caught and four times he escaped from a London prison.

German-Greek filmmaking duo Anja Kirschner and David Panos are storytellers, but we encounter the story via an awareness of its constructs, its constraints and a wavering between historical fact and popularised fiction – specifically focusing on the posthumous publication, allegedly written by ghost writer Daniel Dafoe.

Without trying to create an authentic account, the artists aim to highlight the distance between contemporary and 18th century subjectivity, the problems of representation and the rise of popular culture. Remnants of their construction sets are exhibited analogous to the archive displaying artist prints and publications of the early 1700s; novels, plays, photographs and chapbooks of the 1800s; and periodicals, story pamphlets and films of the 1900s. Cleverly they add to the cycle of reinterpretation.

CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 26 Sep

The Last Days of Jack Sheppard

  • 2009
  • 56min
  • Directed by: Anja Kirschner & David Panos

Film by Anja Kirschner and David Panos based on the inferred prison encounters between the 18th century criminal Jack Sheppard and Daniel Defoe. It was co-commissioned by CCA and Chisenhale Gallery, London.

The Last Days of Jack Sheppard - A Talk on Gesture

  • 3 stars

Actor Rufus Graham gives an illustrated talk on the significance of gesture and its hidden meaning in 18th Century painting and drama in relation to 'The Last Days of Jack Sheppard'.

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