The story of Villa Road, a squatted street, during the heyday of squatting in the late 1970s, when all over the country people lived together in politicised communities. These squatters were on the left, and were part of a generation whose views were underwritten by Marxist ideology. They believed that the revolution was coming and the state would be overthrown.
Villa Road in south London brought together an extraordinary community of over 200 people.
Villa Roaders were against the nuclear family, which they felt denied the full potential of the individual. They were antagonistic to the police, who they viewed as an embodiment of the state. They identified politically with the working class, and supported striking workers. These were also the early days of feminism, and women on Villa Road struggled to free themselves from male domination by attending consciousness-raising groups and Marxist reading groups. As well as engaging in political activism, some on Villa Road were interested in transforming their unconscious minds through psychotherapy. This took an extreme form at number 12, which was a primal scream commune, run by the charismatic and wholly untrained Jenny James, who now runs a commune in Colombia and gives a rare interview in this film.
Villa Road resident
The film also documents London's most long-standing squatted community, St Agnes Place, a street close to Villa Road. They fought eviction and demolition for over 30 years, and were finally evicted by the council only recently, in December 2005.