Essay Films – TERRITORIES + HANDSWORTH SONGS [15] Sun 5th Jul, Ritzy Cinema


Identity in the British frame. It is a salute to the pioneering voices of Black British cinema; those independent storytellers, community griots, radical documentarians and counter-culture moving image activists who animate the unseen and amplify the seldom explored narratives.’

TERRITORIES (UK, 1984, 25 mins) Dir. Isaac Julien An experimental documentary about Black British culture; Territories critiques the ways in which traditional media represents Black people. Exploring the power dynamics that influence Black British identities, the film’s title evokes multiple agendas and experiences at work. These agendas – or ‘territories’ – involve race, class and sexuality. Notting Hill Carnival is the symbolic cultural battleground. The film locates the event within the struggle between White authority and Black youth; in this case over the contested spaces of the carnival. Territories invites the viewer to question everything and to protect and preserve spaces of self-identity.

HANDSWORTH SONGS (UK, 1986, 60 mins) Dir. John Akomfrah Originally commissioned by Channel 4 for their series ‘Britain: The Lie of the Land’; Handsworth Songs takes as its point of departure the civil disturbances of September and October 1985 in the Birmingham district of Handsworth. Running throughout the film is the idea that the riots were the outcome of a protracted suppression by British society of Black presence.

Via Ritzy Cinema, Black Cultural Archives & Culture Kinetica

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