Wolverhampton Art Gallery is showcasing a 1950s style film about Dudley Zoo featuring the voice of Black Country comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry.

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Renowned artist and writer Adam Kossoff, a Reader in the Moving Image at the University of Wolverhampton's Faculty of Arts, is screening his film at the Lichfield Street gallery from Saturday (20 June, 2015).

The film, called Animal Architecture, tells the story of Dudley Zoo and the restoration of its unique animal enclosures, which were designed in 1937 by Modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin.

The Arts Council of England funded film, narrated by comedian and actor Sir Lenny, was compiled during the restoration of the Zoo's Entrance and Bear Ravine last year.

Adam said: "Animal Architecture was filmed on a wind up 16mm Bolex Camera, capturing the everyday, poetic atmosphere of the zoo. It emulates the black and white documentary style of the Free Cinema movement of the 1950s.

"I filmed it during the restoration of the entrance and the bear ravine to show how modernist design gave as much importance to the architecture of the enclosures as it did to the welfare of the animals.

"Sir Lenny Henry narrates the film which also looks at the relationship between humans and animals and emphasises the zoo's atmosphere and its importance as a leisure and cultural attraction for local people."

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: "I hope people who love animals, architecture, film or who just want to evoke memories of Dudley Zoo will come and take a look at the film.

"Visitors to our gallery this summer should get a real flavour of the Black Country with Animal Architecture in 1 gallery space and in another Magnum photographer Martin Parr's huge wall of 400 photographs showing Wolverhampton and Black Country people in his Black Country Stories exhibition."

Animal Architecture will be shown until Saturday 19 September, 2015. Wolverhampton Art Gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and entry is free.

  • released: Monday 15 June, 2015