The sequel to Nightcleaners (1975) about the campaign to unionise women who cleaned office blocks at night, '36 to '77 focusses on one of the cleaners featured in the film as she reflects on that time and how it affected her life.
In 1977 Marc Karlin, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan started work on a sequel to Nightcleaners that was to focus on the impact of the Cleaners Campaign on one of the women who had been part of a successful strike in 1972.
Myrtle Wardally was by then out of work at home, looking after her children and babysitting for friends. Represented in a series of time lapse portraits and audio interviews, she reflects on her childhood in Grenada, the impact of the strike, the comradeship of the cleaners in struggle, the burdens of childbirth and childcare, and her isolation in a disinterested world.
’36 to ’77 inverts conventional documentary narratives, integrating the struggle for memory with the struggle for representation itself; not only for Wardally, who sat for hours in front of the time lapse camera and the tape recorder, but for the filmmakers and the viewers as well, whose perception of film narrative itself is challenged and transformed during the slow progression of refilmed images and halting voices, as if in a dream.