On the Set of "24 Hour Party People"

Film sets can be boring places. But not when the set is a recreation of Manchester's notorious Haçienda night club. The free beer is flowing like water, the subject matter is the punk and acid youth quakes that rocked the city in the mid-70s and late-80s, and the man directing is Michael Winterbottom ("The Claim").

"24 Hour Party People" gives us the world through the eyes of local impresario Tony Wilson, charting the rise and fall of his hipper-than-thou record label, Factory.

Winterbottom is aiming to capture the craziness that eventually led to the label's demise, having launched Joy Division, New Order, OMD, and the Happy Mondays. If the electric atmosphere at the lovingly-recreated Haçienda is anything to go by, he's succeeded.

As hundreds of young extras wearing 80s club gear fill the dance floor, the line between past and present, reality and fiction, melts away.

"This is exactly as it was," one Haçienda regular say tearfully, jostling for space at the bar. Standing nearby, Peter Hook, New Order's bassist, can't decide whether it is the biggest nightmare of his life or the biggest orgasm.

Tony Wilson himself is not present, although he does attend the following day's press conference. It would have been "unbearably self-conscious", he later reveals, and unbearably moving, too. For although he had not shed a tear when the contents of the club - which was forced to close in 1997 due to a combination of financial difficulties and drug-related violence - were auctioned off, he admits he found stepping onto the set surprisingly emotional.