Washed Up

An unflinching look at the combustible relationship that drives Desperate Men, one of the UK's best loved street theatre companies, to make new work, with and for the people, after 37 years. How, and why, do two very different veterans of the outdoor arts sector, manage to keep making vital street theatre together, when they are often at each other's throats?

  • Nathan Hughes
    The Claw, Scratching The Surface
  • Nathan Hughes
    Mourning Glory, The Claw, Twin Track, Call of the Void
  • Rough Glory Films
    The Claw, Scratching The Surface
  • The Desperate Men
    Key Cast
  • Jacob Parish
    The Claw, Scratching The Surface
  • Elizabeth Purnell
    The Great Fire, The Town, Churchill and the Fascist Plot
  • Chris Lyons
    The Claw, Scratching The Surface
  • Angel Perez Grandi
    Sound Design
    Crowhurst, Camaleonte Cerca Colore, The Human Centipide
  • Nathan Hughes & Jacob Parish
    The Claw, Scratching The Surface
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Environmental, Relationships, Street Theatre
  • Runtime:
    39 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 15, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Sony FS7
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Nathan Hughes

Award winning Writer/Director whose work 'demonstrates a distinctive cinematic and/or artistic vision’ (Encounters Festival 2012). Currently working on a dark comedy drama 'Mourning Glory', from his screenplay developed through London Screenwriters Festival's Talent Campus Initiative 2016, and London Comedy Film Festival’s Kick Start Your Comedy Career Masterclass 2017.

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Director Statement

The tender antagonism of what appear to be dysfunctional, codependent relationships fascinates me, particularly when it is a critical driver of vibrant cultural production. I also love cantankerous comedy double acts and redemptive buddy movies. After working with Desperate Men to develop their Proxi and Peri characters (the tides made flesh), I wanted to understand how, and why, they kept working together despite significant personal differences.

I was intrigued by the hybrid documentary potential of locating the simmering resentment of Channel 4's Peep Show in widescreen frames inspired by Sergio Leone's iconic westerns, which is why we shot in Cabo de Gata, Spain. I see Washed Up as a Peep Show spaghetti western, which blurs fact and fiction to put a professional marriage under the microscope, and reveal how mutual disdain is conquered by love.

In playing semi-fictionalised versions of themselves in an out of season Spanish fishing village, Desperate men also embody humanity, facing a looming threat of environmental catastrophe. Their candid reflections, from the vantage point of four decades of politically informed street theatre, echo contemporary anxieties in response to anthropogenic climate change.

"This is us, warts and all, grappling with each other's moods and motivations, yet again working very hard for almost nothing, but doggedly keeping going to produce something interesting, and perhaps worthwhile. I'd like all our peers to see this and laugh out loud at our petty absurdities, but also to recognise something of their own creative struggles, and the sense of time running out." (Desperate Men)