To celebrate the publication of a dossier on the work of renowned filmmaker Stephen Dwoskin (1939-2012) in the journal Screen (vol. 57, no.1, Spring 2016), we will be showing a group of rarely screened short works by Dwoskin. The screening will be followed by informal discussion from some of the contributors to the dossier.
The dossier considers the Dwoskin’s contribution to the development of the independent film and its infrastructure in the UK from 1964, when he arrived in London, to his death in 2012. Co-edited by Dr Rachel Garfield and Alison Butler (from the University of Reading), it contains new and exclusive scholarship on Dwoskin’s contribution and his cultural significance by Dan Kidner, Adrian Martin, Lucy Reynolds and Henry K. Miller.
Stephen Dwoskin is known for co-founding the London Film Maker’s Co-Op and for his important book Film Is… , as well as for his prodigious body of work, with over 50 groundbreaking and prizewinning films to his name. Working in both the short and long form, in a range of experimental and documentary modes, he broached challenging personal and political subjects. Dwoskin not only straddled different contexts and ideologies about film but advocated for the support of work in a wide variety of forms. His work, which didn’t fit neatly within the British avant-garde of his day, has been widely recognized throughout the world, but there remains comparatively little scholarly writing on him in the English language. The Screen dossier initiates an important reassessment of Dwoskin as a key motivating force in the development of experimental and independent film in the UK from the 1960s onwards.
"In Soliloquy a girl broods uncertainly over a failed love affair, while the camera roves over her fingers, her cigarette, her knuckles, her lips and the hand mirror in which she peers. In its dark reflection one isolated eye seems a dead thing, twitching; the split between her body and her spoken thoughts becomes a strange bilocation of consciousness; towards the end, an aeroplane drones overhead." – Raymond Durgnat
"Made for SBF (Berlin Television). A personal impression of West Berlin before the wall went down. The impression of the city that is like a postcard, or the feeling of the postcards sold in Berlin, which displayed the contradictions of that western outpost – the feeling that the whole place was a superficial display of commercialism, an old war and a questionable future." – Stephen Dowskin
"The film questions the possible viewing positions with the girl; in other words, who and what is looking at whom? and is the girl alone or with another – or is the camera position that of voyeur or protagonist? The only way to figure it out is to spend some time with her!" – Stephen Dowskin
The film is based on family found footage that Dwoskin manipulated by repeating and changing its speed. In this haunting short, Dwoskin probes at an old home movie for its elusive secrets. The soundtrack, at once urgent, monastic and funereal, reveals what's at stake.