Although informed by an international perspective, most of Karlin’s work focuses on the UK. An exception was the remarkable series of five films on the Nicaraguan revolution encompassing the popular guerrilla war of the late 1970’s, the development of the Sandinista government, the effects of the US-backed contra war, and the defeat of the FSLN in 1989. Rather than foregrounding the Sandinista leadership, the films speak from the grassroots, both urban and rural. This rare perspective portrays a revolution for what it is – an exhausting, uneven process.
Nicaragua Part 1: Voyages (1985)
Broadcast 14 October 1985 Channel 4 (ELEVENTH HOUR) (42 mins)
In 1978–79 American photographer Susan Meiselas documented the two insurrections that led to the overthrow of fifty years of dictatorship by the Somoza family in Nicaragua. Through an epistolary exchange over five unedited tracking shots across Meiselas’ photographs, the film articulates her relationship to the history she witnessed.
Nicaragua Part 2: The Making of a Nation (1985)
Broadcast 21 October 1985 Channel 4 (ELEVENTH HOUR) (80 mins)
Shot in 1983–84 and focusing on the work of the Historical Institute, this film witnesses how Nicaraguans are recovering their history, the memory of Sandino’s struggle, to transform their sense of identity.
Nicaragua Part 3: In Their Time (1985)
Broadcast 28 October 1985 Channel 4 (ELEVENTH HOUR) 70 mins
Through the eyes of journalists and photographers working at Barricada, the official publication of the FSLN, the film observes the problems of putting socialism into practice, with reports on the war, the economy, the prison system and the political process leading up to the 1984 elections.
Nicaragua Part 4: Changes
Broadcast 4 November 1985 Channel 4 (ELEVENTH HOUR) (89 mins)
A portrait of a remote area in the rural north of Nicaragua facing difficulties with the revolutionary process. It follows Marlon Stuart, the regional FSLN political organiser, at the time of the 1984 elections.
Scenes For A Revolution (1991)
Broadcast 13 May 1991 Channel 4 (GLOBAL IMAGE) (110 mins)
Karlin returns to Nicaragua after five years to examine the history of the Sandinista government and the prospects for democracy following their defeat in the general election of 1990.