Category: News

Radical Film Network presents: Activist Filmmaking on Dislocation (with a screening of 722 TMX Engineer Battalion)

Wednesday 17 May / 6.30pm / The Box / £4 / £3, booking required

 Join FACT and Radical Film Network for a  film-screening and panel event exploring the role of the filmmaker as activist.  Seeking to counter the largely fictional (and often hysterically inaccurate) narrative on Syrian refugees put forward by the mainstream media, filmmaker Yannis Koufonikos questions how much of this narrative is fiction, constructing a positive representation of refugees and their struggles built around his work inside the Alexandria refugee camp in Greece.

 Inspired by How much of this is fiction., FACT presents a specially curated film programme drawing influence from the idea of artist as activist. Featuring films chosen by exhibiting artists and local community and grassroots activist groups, the films may have inspired works in the exhibition, or share the political and socially engaged ethos of Tactical Media in their aim to challenge or shift public perception.

Via FACT

READ: How the Essay Film Thinks by Laura Rascaroli

This book offers a novel understanding of the epistemological strategies that are mobilized by the essay film, and of where and how such strategies operate. Against the backdrop of Theodor W. Adorno’s discussion of the essay form’s anachronistic, anti-systematic and disjunctive mode of resistance, and capitalizing on the centrality of the interstice in Gilles Deleuze’s understanding of the cinema as image of thought, the book discusses the essay film as future philosophy-as a contrarian, political cinema whose argumentation engages with us in a space beyond the verbal. A diverse range of case studies discloses how the essay film can be a medium of thought on the basis of its dialectic use of audiovisual interstitiality. The book shows how the essay film’s disjunctive method comes to be realized at the level of medium, montage, genre, temporality, sound, narration, and framing-all of these emerging as interstitial spaces of intelligence that illustrate how essayistic meaning can be sustained, often in contexts of political, historical or cultural extremity. The essayistic urge is not to be identified with a fixed generic form, but is rather situated within processes of filmic thinking that thrive in gaps.

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Openings: Thinking Cinema
1. Medium: Liquid Image, Fluid Cinema
2. Montage: Essayistic Thinking at the Juncture of Images
3. Genre: The Speck of Irony and the Ethnolandscape in Ruins
4. Temporality: The Palimpsestic Road and Diachronic Thinking
5. Sound: The Politics of the Sonic Interstice and the Dissonance of the Neutral
6. Narration: Epistolarity and Lyricism as Argumentation
7. Framing: Looking for an Object, or The Essay Film as Theoretical Practice
Conclusion: Reframing
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Laura Rascaroli, Professor of Film and Screen Media, Univerity College Cork

Laura Rascaroli is Professor of Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, Ireland. She is the author and editor of several volumes, including The Personal Camera: Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film (2009), Crossing New Europe: Postmodern Travel and the European Road Movie (2006), co-written with Ewa Mazierska, and Antonioni: Centenary Essays (2011), co-edited with John David Rhodes. She is the General Editor of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media.

via Oxford University Press

BIMI – Session #10: Perfidious Albion, a programme curated by Catherine Grant and Sarah Wood

Photo © 1984 Derek Jarman

Wednesday 29 March

Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

1:00–6:00 | [Book here]

What does it say about British identity that from as early as the 13th century foreign states have shared a single Anglophone slur to describe British double-dealings overseas? Perfidious Albion: the name for Britain when its government operates dishonourably, is treacherous, or betrays a promise.

The promise of British identity has been much discussed in the last twelve months. Two versions are in competition. Britain in the world, outward looking and open. Britain as an island nation, insular, self-interested, maybe closed. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, as Britain floats off the coast of mainland Europe and dreams its future, this programme looks at how essay filmmakers have analysed the promise represented by modern Britain and estimated to what degree the country lives up to its perfidious reputation. Curated by Catherine Grant and Sarah Wood, it features two recent works by Wood, alongside works by Derek Jarman, Humphrey Jennings, Margaret Tait, Isaac Julien and the Sankofa Film and Video Collective, and Cordelia Swann.

In collaboration with the School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex


1:00-3:00

The Last of England, Derek Jarman, UK, 1984, 35mm, 87 mins

3:30-6:00

The Dim Little Island, Humphrey Jennings, UK 1949, 35mm, 10 mins

Colour Poems, Margaret Tait, UK 1974, DVD, 11 mins

Territories, Isaac Julien/Sankofa, UK 1985, 16mm, 25 mins TBC

Perfidia, Cordelia Swann, UK 2002, digital video, 13 mins

Boat People, Sarah Wood, UK 2016, digital video, 22 mins

Azure, Sarah Wood, UK 2017, digital video loop, 7 mins, text by Ali Smith.


The Last of England, Derek Jarman, UK 1984, 35mm, 87 mins

England in the future: a nightmarish journey through a dark landscape of totalitarianism and despair.

“In The Last of England, Derek Jarman’s memories, thoughts and fantasies are assembled in a collage of styles (quasi-documentary chronicle, home movies and video), to vent his fury at Thatcher’s England. The use of dream-like imagery, superimpositions and different colour hues express Jarman’s nostalgic yearning for the past, and the film has been compared to Humphrey Jennings’ poetic documentary Listen to Britain (1941), which hymned wartime Britain.” (Kamila Kuc, BFI Screenonline)

The Dim Little Island, Humphrey Jennings, UK 1949, 35mm, 10 mins

“Humphrey Jennings’s latest film is in effect an anthology of four meditations on the present state of England. These are contributed by an artist (Osbert Lancaster), a naturalist (James Fisher), an industrialist (John Ormston), and a composer (Vaughan Williams). “Ichabod, Ichabod”, Lancaster remarks in the opening sequence, “our glory is departed.” The little island is growing dim; looking at it we feel rather like the émigrés in Ford Madox Brown’s picture The Last of England, sad but resigned.” (Monthly Film Bulletin)

 Colour Poems, Margaret Tait, UK 1974, DVD, 11 mins

“Nine linked short films. Memory, chance observation, and the subsuming of one in the other. The titles within the film are: Numen of the BoughsOld BootsSpeed Bonny BoatLapping WaterInsenceAhaBrave New WorldThingsTerra Firma.” (Margaret Tait)

Territories, Isaac Julien/Sankofa, UK 1985, 16mm, 25 mins

“Sankofa’s Territories looks at the Notting Hill Carnival and the 1976 riots. Juxtaposing original footage with archival news reports, Isaac Julien films the carnival as a subversive site for resistance in Afro-Caribbean culture, in direct opposition to mainstream white British society and an increasingly hostile police patrol.” (Cinema Project)

Perfidia, Cordelia Swann, UK 2002, digital video, 13 mins

“A contemporary fable, set in the streets, parks, edifices and firmaments of Paddington and West London, about the day to day life of a woman named Perfidia and her neighbours. Featuring jet trails, a canary, a student, an archbishop, Marlene Dietrich, and the London Fire Brigade.” (Cordelia Swann)

“‘Perfidia’…is also the name of a woman with no particular faith or allegiance. As the soundtrack reminds us she is, like Marlene Dietrich in the film ‘Morocco’, a ‘suicide’, a ‘one way ticket’ who has stepped off the ship never to be seen again. In Swann’s film, she becomes an ‘itinerant and a tourist’, immersing herself in a kaleidoscope of London sights and sounds which manage to allude to a multitude of experiences and beliefs but adhere to none in particular.” (Sotiris Kyriacou, Luxonline)

Boat People, Sarah Wood, UK 2016, digital video, 22 mins

Homelessness is coming to be the destiny of the world’, suggested Martin Heidegger in 1946, in the immediate aftermath of the mass movement of people created by WWII. In 1946, this displacement was a shocking legacy. Sixty years on, with the escalating movement of people escaping conflict and environmental catastrophe across the world, has Heidegger’s prediction come true? Has displacement become the norm rather than the exception?

Boat People is an essay film that explores this question. Taking as its starting point the historic version of Britain as a seafaring nation the film counterpoints the surety of this assertion of identity with the contingency of movement. Boat People also questions the role the moving image itself plays in the representation of human movement and the migration of ideas. Just as the invention of the telescopic lens brought near and far together for the very first time, Boat People is about the way in the twenty-first century the near and far are mediated and transformed by the new ‘perception accelerator’, the digital image.

 Azure, Sarah Wood, UK 2017, digital video loop, 7 mins, text by Ali Smith.

Azure is the colour of the sky on a clear summer’s day. Azure is a colour that suggests openness, ease, possibility. Azure is the name of the card given to the people who arrive in Britain seeking asylum. This short essay film accompanies Boat People in a questioning of the meaning of hospitality.

BIMI Session #13 : Critique, Protest, Activism and the Video Essay, a lecture-performance by Kevin B. Lee

Thursday 30 March 2017

Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH

8:45–11:00 | Cinema 1 | [Book here]

The current social and political environment demands a moment of urgent reckoning for the audiovisual essay, whether it is practiced by artists, scholars, or everyday video-makers: How can or should it address the current crises facing the world? Kevin B. Lee’s work has pondered this question, in the past, through video essays on filmic forms of social protest and dissent. But at what point do audiovisual studies of works of activism become activist works in their own right? How do criticism and activism co-exist, and possibly inform and nurture the other? In this special lecture-performance, Lee will explore these questions by showing and discussing a range of recent audiovisual essays that engage with a social and political consciousness, including Steven Boone’s Snake Oil for N—–town Fever, which uses Roger Corman’s The Intruder as a blueprint for diagnosing the prevailing logic of Trumpism; Kiera Sandusky’s Problems with the Gendered POV Shot in Lilya 4-Ever, which examines the problematic outcome when a mainstream film is used for social education purposes; and extracts from Lee and filmmaker-scholar Chloé Galibert-Laîné’s ongoing research project about videos produced and circulated by the Islamic State.

With the support of the Department of Film, Theatre & Television, University of Reading, and the Goethe-Institut, London

Sight & Sound Film Poll: Nicole Brenez on La hora de los hornos / The Hour of the Furnaces, Kevin B. Lee, 2012, digital video, 8 minutes
Produced for Sight & Sound magazine’s international poll of the greatest films ever made, this video adapts Nicole Brenez’ argument for the poll to give greater consideration to political films, as well as to the politics of filmmaking.

Real Film Radicals, Kevin B. Lee, 2013, digital video, 6 minutes
A recontextualization of “radical” cinema, this video critiques how the use of the term “radical” has been applied to certain contemporary films. It then pays tribute to films, many of which have been neglected or marginalized from film history, that attest to a legacy of radical resistance filmmaking.

State of Emergence: The Wall, Anti Banality Union, 2016, digital video, 3 minutes
Who is the enemy, exactly? Dozens of clips from Hollywood zombie films are interwoven into a single sequence depicting how societal paranoia is propagated by mainstream entertainment. An excerpt from State of Emergence, a work-in-progress feature by Anti-Banality Union, a New York based media activist collective

Snake Oil for N—–town Fever, Steven Boone, 2016, digital video, 10 minutes
The 1960s Roger Corman B-movie The Intruder is used as a blueprint for diagnosing the prevailing logic of 21st century Trumpism and the enduring racial dynamics of the United States.

Problems with the Gendered POV Shot in Lilya 4-Ever, Kiera Sandusky, 2017, digital video,  6 minutes
The 2004 Swedish film Lilya 4-Ever depicted the problem of sex trafficking so powerfully that it was used by governments, NGOs and educators as an awareness raising tool. This video examines the aesthetic choices that make the film so powerful, as well as the problematic outcomes when it was used for social education purposes.

My Crush Was a Superstar, Chloé Galibert-Laîné, 2017, digital video, 10 minutes.
This desktop documentary follows a single image of an ISIS fighter through a trail of messages, videos and postings to uncover his existence in both social media and reality. An excerpt from an ongoing research project by Galibert-Laîné and Kevin B. Lee investigating videos produced and circulated by the Islamic State.

Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker and critic who has made over 300 video essays exploring film and media. His award-winning Transformers: The Premake was named one of the best documentaries of 2014 by Sight & Sound Magazine and played in several festivals including the Berlin Film Festival Critics Week. In 2017 he is the first-ever Artist in Residence of the Harun Farocki Institute in Berlin.

via BIMI

Marc Karlin: Look Again Film Comment Review

When Marc Karlin died in 1999, he was deemed Britain’s greatest unknown filmmaker; 25 years after his death, that reputation still holds. One of the reasons why Karlin’s oeuvre has not been canonised or even seen yet outside a small circle of dedicated followers can be attributed to the fact that he worked in television for most of his career. Long before the small screen became a site for quality serial content and the video essay became a fashionable trend, Karlin shot for British Tv some of the most daring docu-essays the public at large has yet to appreciate.

This gorgeous illustrated and meticulously researched treasure of a book serves as a contextualising introduction to the career of a veritable maverick of world cinema. Through critical (re)evaluations of his work and invaluable materials from his personal archives, Look Again, conveys the artistic militancy of a filmmaker who felt a moral need to experiment with form yet never lost sight of his audience.

Charting his early days in the Berwick Street Film Collective (where, in 1975, he made Nightcleaners, one of the absolute peaks of experimental political filmmaking), up through his confounding of the movie magazine Vertigo in the early Nineties, the book brings to life a passionate and industrious career who shared with Karlin a rebellious love for cinema make this volume not only to read but also to experience with almost tactile pleasure. In recent years some of his work have occasionally been shown, and with any luck, this book will continue bring to larger audiences the life and art of a truly talented filmmaker.

Review by Giovanni Vimercati, Film Comment, Septermber-October 2015

An Evening Celebrating Stuart Hall, Featuring John Akomfrah – March 17 at 6pm at MOMA

akom120001_still_4
The program is organized on the occasion of John Akomfrah’s three-screen video installation The Unfinished Conversation (2012), recently acquired by MoMA and included in the forthcoming exhibition Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection. Akomfrah is a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, which was established along with Lina Gopaul, David Lawson and others in London in the 1980s. The work considers Stuart Hall’s ongoing importance as a public intellectual, founder of cultural studies and leader of the British New Left. Made two years before before Hall’s death in 2014, the installation is a testament to the ongoing impact of the thinker’s ideas on artists and cultural institutions. The evening will include presentations by Thomas Lax, Kobena Mercer, Professor of History of Art and African American Studies, Yale University, and DavidScott, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University; a dialogue between CameronBailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto Film Festival and John Akomfrah; and a conversation moderated by Tina Campt, Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Professor of Africana and Women’s studies at Barnard College.

Film is a Weapon. Use it! Screening Series at the MayDay Rooms 22 Feb

portugal-viva

3rd Wednesday of the Month At MDR. 

MDR and Platform films has recently embarked on a large digitisation programme of 16mm film from the ’68 onwards, the collection included such gems of footage as Stokey Carmicheal’s speech in Camden, solidarity with hunger strikes in Northern Ireland, raw footage from cinema action, and many more we have not looked at yet!

In anticipation of this hefty haul of revolutionary AVI files we will be putting on monthly screenings of films that antagonise and document.

First Screening will be…

Cinema Action’s Viva Portugal! 

22.02
7-9pm

Viva Portugal was made by a group of French and West German journalists (the English version was assembled by cinema action), and traces the first year of the Portuguese revolution.

Besides documenting the political changes, from the overthrow of Caetano’s dictatorship to the failure of a right wing coup in March 1975 (largely because soldiers questioned their officers’ orders), the film deals with the effect of the revolution on the people. Factory and village committees, independent trade unions, are shown being set up; the plight of the farmworkers and the power of the anti-Communist Church are dealt with. It culminates with the occupation of an empty manor house, which is converted into a people’s hospital.

27th March, 7pm
Cuba, an African Odyssey (2007) 
explores how Cuba, under the leadership of Fidel Castro, gave critical support to Africa’s liberation movements. This influence was instrumental in advancing the decolonisation process, which brought independence to much of the continent. There will be Q&A with the filmmaker Jihan El Tahri after the film.

26th April, 7pm
The Hour of the Furnaces (La hora de los hornos 1968 Argentina 260 mins) 
Made in Argentina in 1968, this film established the paradigm of revolutionary activist cinema. ‘For the first time’, said filmmaker, Octavio Getino, ‘we demonstrated that it was possible to produce and distribute a film in a non-liberated country with the specific aim of contributing to the political process of liberation’.

24th May, 7pm
What Makes Alberto Pinto Angry (Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai, 1980)
 The story of a Mumbai mechanic’s journey from petit-bourgeois aspiration to solidarity with the striking textile workers. Set in industrial Mumbai in the lead up to the great textile strike of 1982, filmmaker Mirza, incorporates documentary footage as the backdrop to the film.

As part of the Film is a Weapon. Use it! series we will also be re-publish some of the material that we hold on the Film and Photography Leagues of the 1930’s- if you would like to get involved with this collection of material please contact rosemary [AT] maydayrooms.org

via MayDay Rooms