Volume 2 | Issue 7 | Autumn-Winter 2004


Volume 2 - Issue 7 - Editorial

By Vertigo

A man, Brian Haw, stands against power in the nation’s common, so-called Parliament’s square. For three years and still, he stands against all pressures, all brutalities and courts. He endures; like the memories he embodies he refuses to yield to power’s wind. He reminds power of its past and the seepage of its acts through lives in and on the ground. He offers himself and his deepening protest as a screen on which are projected realities, consequences, effects. We remember, he says, so that we might stand a chance of remembering tomorrow. Memory is a kind of tenderness, and resistance, because it rescues time for human life.
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Documentary Is Dead – Long Live Documentaries!

By David Naden | Francesca Pompili | Michael Grigsby

Twelve documentary filmmakers gathered at the ThinkTank in Birmingham to debate the state of the art at a weekend event for new filmmakers organised by Screen West Midlands.

In the Shadow of Love

By Geoff Andrew

In 1994 – a year before Ulysses' Gaze won the Cannes Grand Jury Prize, and four years before Eternity and a Day won the Palme d’Or – David Thomson argued, in his Biographical Dictionary of Film, that Theo Angelopoulos should be counted among the handful of true masters still working in the cinema.

Things that Quicken the Heart

By Catherine Lupton

Like Sei Shonagon, lady-in-waiting to the Heian court in 10th century Japan, Chris Marker has a passion for lists. Think of the globetrotting cameraman Sandor Krasna, whose return to Tokyo is described for us in Sans Soleil, roaming the streets and stores to make sure everything is in its right place.

The Memory of the World

By Esther Johnson

Architecture has always had a close relationship with film, having a mutual concern with public and private space and being, in the words of Sergei Eisenstein, “film’s undoubted ancestor”.

It Happened Here

By Dai Vaughan

Faced with the seemingly irreversible decline of television documentary over the past decade, many of us have taken comfort in the observation that no golden age has lasted for ever. The Globe Theatre didn’t last forever; neither the patronage of the Renaissance popes nor the Soviet silent cinema...


By Sarah Wood

The aeroplane and the motion picture share the same centenary: the autumn of 1903 which witnessed the attainment of powered flight (Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17th) and the birth of cinematic narrative (Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery).

Sensing Histories

By Metin Alsanjak

On a video monitor, an elderly man’s eye is visible through a cross with two horizontal intersections. He speaks in French, and frequently touches and points at the scar above his right eye. No translation of his words is offered on screen. The English translation is on six wall-mounted panels.

Sandino Vive

By Hermione Harris

An incongruous print. The faded sepia suggests a dusty portrait from many years ago. But the photo of a film crew sweating it out against a church wall in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, is only two decades old. It is the street photographer’s equipment which is not of its time: the black cloth over his head...

‘Eyewitness’ Documentary and the Fabrication of ‘Truth’

By Phil Gunson

“Why are we always so hard on President Chávez?” asked the foreign editor of a European newspaper when I recently pitched him a story idea on Venezuela. “I just saw a documentary that showed how he was helping the poor, and how the oligarchy wants to overthrow him.”

For the Common Wealth

By Holly Aylett

The Commonwealth Film Festival launched in 2002 when the Commonwealth Games came to Manchester. From these somewhat opportunistic beginnings it has developed as a successful exhibition platform for international cinema, but the question still hangs over it – what is the significance of the connection to the Commonwealth?

A Story of a Forgotten Tail

By Nadim Karam

…I began by thinking about the projects that I have realized globally, and the aim behind them. What have I been searching for through these projects? How was freedom, if at all, involved in the making of these projects?


By Colin Hicks

Why are the United States of America so enthusiastically signing up individual nations to a series of bilateral free trade agreements? Jordan, Australia, Morocco and five Central American countries have all made recent agreements with the USA to liberalise, amongst others, their audio-visual markets.

Film Criticism: Why Bother?

By Chris Darke

When I’m reviewing a film, I tend to leave the screening with the pages of my notebook resembling the results of a polygraph test taken by a compulsive liar. Spasms of biro have to be deciphered before being finessed into prose. Life would be a lot easier if I bought a light pen.

The Terminal Man

By Jason Wood

With the attention shown his latest film, pin-sharp noir I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, critics and audiences are re-assessing the work of British auteur Mike Hodges. The consensus? That there’s far more to Hodges than the seminal Get Carter.

Going home... Nick Ray revisited

By James Leahy

This time round, I went to see Lightning Over Water, Wim Wenders’s film about Nick’s final days. Previously I’d avoided it, feeling I wanted to preserve my memories of Nick, not replace them with images of a man who was weak, sick, dying.

Decasia: The State of Decay

By Chris Darke

In 2002, Bill Morrison, a 38 year-old New York-based filmmaker, emerged from two years spent scouring film archives to present Decasia, a haunting, 70 minute tapestry of decaying, nitrate-based footage.

Postmemory Blues

By John Nassari

My father’s cousin Photis arrived in Britain in 1974, as a Greek Cypriot refugee. He left his home and village of Rizokarpaso, situated in the northern peninsular of Cyprus. The village was taken over by Turkish soldiers, and while Photis’ parents remained in the village under Turkish rule...

In a Free State?

By Gaylene Gould

To mark the close of decibel, the Arts Council project to promote cultural diversity in the visual arts, the organisers held a two-day conference at the British Museum in April, entitled A Free State.

The Exile of our Longing: Notes Towards a Position

By Kodwo Eshun | The Otolith Group

Today, there is more resistance to abusive power than ever before but little or no language for those actions nor the yearnings that drive them. Our desires to find a free space are contained by those same traditions of resistance we hold dear.

400 Anarchists

By Grant Gee

I'll always love the cherry season
That's the time that keeps my heart
A broken heart

A Love Supreme: Samosas and Memory

By Nilesh Patel

A Love Supreme is a nine minute documentary of my mother’s hands preparing samosas, a traditional Indian dish of fried pastry parcels, filled with vegetables. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis in her knees and shoulders, and my film was made in case the affliction spread to her hands.

Capturing the Elephant

By Asu Aksoy

Gus Van Sant has said that, when he made his film Elephant, he had in mind the old parable about the five blind men touching different parts of an elephant, none of them actually having the big picture. Van Sant is a filmmaker who wants to touch on the psychotic core of mundane, banal American life.

Raúl Ruiz: Hypothesis and Enigma

By George Clark

Born in Chile in 1941, Ruiz begun working with film, after a previous engagement with theatre, in 1960 and now has a constantly expanding filmography of over 100 feature films, shorts and documentaries in various genres.

Letter from Lamerica: (Com)Promised Lands

By Áine O’Healy

Lamerica, which won the Director’s Award at the Venice Film Festival and the Felix Award for Best European Film in 1994, is an epoch-defining feature that confirmed the international reputation of Gianni Amelio.

The Art of Destruction: The Films of the Vienna Action Group

By Stephen Barber

The Vienna Action Group generated a body of films which are unique – in their contrary forms, strategies and preoccupations – as the essential counterpart to a twentieth-century performance art movement.

Film Art Phenomena

By Catherine Elwes

Nicky Hamlyn is a second-generation experimental filmmaker who is well placed both to reflect on the first wave rising in the 1960s and ’70s and to observe the younger generation, many of whom were his own students.

Video Art

By Catherine Elwes

Michael Rush has here produced a glossy and lavishly illustrated overview of video art past and present. He deftly tells the story of television’s bastard child from the early black & white real-time experiments in the mid-1960s, when artists like Bruce Nauman were seen pacing the studio until the tape ran out...

Tony Sinden: Everything Must Go – Installation, Video and Film

By Lucy Reynolds

How does one communicate the experience of film and video installation on the page? It could be argued that the most effective exhibition catalogues are those which don’t try to compete with the experience of an exhibition but create a context around it by sticking to the word.

Future Cinema & Trafic 50

By Chris Darke

Cinema has left the building… I have two autopsy reports on my desk: one from Germany and the other from France. The deceased’s name is ‘Cinema’. Having reached a ripe old age, which most put at around 100 years although others say it was still older, the deceased has received two exceptionally thorough reports...

The Book of Illusions

By Hannah Patterson

Traumatised by the death of his wife and children, David Zimmer, a Vermont professor, spends solitary hours drunkenly contemplating suicide until, channel-hopping late one night, his grief is penetrated by a scene from a two-reel silent comedy. It makes him laugh. Out loud.

Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids

By James Norton

The definition of photography as ‘a mirror that remembers’ could also apply to the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky. Now, with the publication of this beautifully mounted album of 60 polaroids taken by the late Russian film-maker, we are able to witness him stopping time in still photographs.

Remembering Margaret Tait (1918-1999)

By Annabel Nicolson | Peter Todd | Ute Aurand | Sarah Wood

Arriving in Orkney by boat from Scrabster. The strong colour of the sea and the amazing light. Standing on the deck, not wanting to miss anything. A small blue open truck was waiting for us. On its side the words Ancona Films.

Wanting Now: A Thought for Trafalgar Square

By John Berger

The world has changed. Information is being communicated differently. Misinformation is developing its techniques. On a world scale emigration has become the principal means of survival. The national state of those who had suffered the worst genocide in history has become, militarily speaking, fascist.

Jetzt im Kino

By Matthew Noel-Tod

Tomorrow we should be able to...

Peter Kennard: Decoration

By John Berger

Peter Kennard, in these memorable paintings, in these paintings that refuse to be forgotten, goes very close to the griefs begin inflicted – they are still-life, of grief and, at the same time, include the time-scale of the mountain. They are the opposite of news flashes.

Volume 2 – Issue 7 – Autumn/Winter 2004

This issue is dedicated to Thomas Sangster, born 21.6.04, ‘in the young days when the deep sky befriended...’
Ezra Pound, from Near Perigord

Managing Editor: Holly Aylett
: Gareth Evans
Editorial Assistant
: Metin Alsanjak
Events Producer
: Di Robson
Production Assistant
: Tatiana Vargas
Advertising Assistant
: Martin Jackson
: Ann Bradbury, Nancy Harrison  

Editorial Board: Holly Aylett, Michael Chanan, Gareth Evans, James Leahy, Thessa Mooji, Hannah Patterson, Julian Petley

Advisory Network: John Akomfrah, Asu Aksoy, Yossi Bal, Gill Branston, Robert Chilcott, Don Coutts, David Curtis, Margaret Dickinson, Kate Elwes, Alan Fountain, Catherine Fowler, Keith Griffiths, Sylvia Harvey, Judith Higginbottom, Asif Kapadia, Ruth Lingford, Sarah McCarthy, Martin McLoone, Robin Macpherson, Kevin Rockett, Keith Shiri, Lana Turner, Sarah Turner, Nick Walker 

Original Print Design by: Kalina Owczarek, Thinkfarm (T. 020 7439 4399) 

Originally Printed by: Fox Print Services Ltd 

With Special Thanks to: Yoram Allon, Mark Bean, Griselda Bear, Gus Berger, John Berger, Jonathan Bloom, Anne Bradford, Caroline Bull, Kate Burvill, Manuela Cara, Chris Chandler (UK Film Council), Peter Chappell, Ian Christie, Tom Church, Melanie Crawley, Rose Cupit (ACE), Helen de Witt, June Givanni, Donald Harding, Hermione Harris, Alex Hinton, Becky Innes, Tony Jones, David Kelly, Chris Lane, Steve Lewis, Cara Littlewood, Mark Norton, Ra Page, Jill Reading, Emma Sangster, Andrew Scott, Sylvia Stephens and Faction Films, Thinkfarm (especially Mike), Florence Tissot, Ann Twiselton, Verena von Stackelberg, Carole Tongue, Ben Walker, Ceri Williams, James Williamson, Darren Wood, Jason Wood 

Original Print Edition published with financial assistance from: Arts Council England, UK Film Council