Volume 2 | Issue 8 | Spring-Summer 2005


Volume 2 - Issue 8 - Editorial

By Vertigo

The now of the moving image is present, past and future, braided in ceaseless negotiation. The moment of the viewing, the gone event gifted to the eyes once more, and then offered to the years, the decades to come, almost as a wager, a loan, a sacrifice. But for us, now, the future does not exist and so the past becomes the future and the present is tense as it watches. What then is the matter, the subject of this now? What are we crafting as our totems, our hearths, our evidence to be discovered by tribes yet unborn? In one dish of the scales, Abu Ghraib, the British interrogations in Basra, the dusty wash of beheadings, Darfur’s tented betrayals, the final greyscale glimpses of street corner cctv, the unending face, like a howl with skin, of all the deaths that capital sows.
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Shanghai Frolic

By Andrew K├Âtting

Using a small Dictaphone I would record to tape my first impressions and contemplations of the city. With an ‘Olympus Trip’ 35 mm stills camera I would also snap pictures.

The Eyes Have It

By SF Said

If any contemporary cinematographer is a cinephile household name, it’s Christopher Doyle. Best known for his path-breaking visuals with Wong Kar-Wai, from Days Of Being Wild (1990) to 2046 (on general release now), he’s also worked with the likes of Gus Van Sant, Philip Noyce and Zhang Yimou...

So Hot Right Now

By Ben Slater

Malaysia has been one-to-watch for the last few years now. Certainly not for any shining talents in its notoriously sub-par ‘mainstream’ industry, but because historically there has been a strong cinematic tradition in Malaysia...

Alphaville Exists

By Chris Darke

Seven and a half miles from the heart of São Paulo there is a gated community which houses 30,000 of the city’s richest and most security conscious residents, many of whom travel by helicopter to work among the 17 million other inhabitants of the world’s third largest city.

Where Angels Fear to Tread

By Nick Bradshaw

‘This is the city,’ Thom Andersen growls over an aerial shot of his smog-shrouded hometown at the start of Los Angeles Plays Itself. ‘They make movies here. I live here. Sometimes I think that gives me the right to criticise.’

Faces in the Crowd

By Gareth Evans

Showing, suitably, in the heart of London’s multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, artist accommodating East End, perhaps the city’s most defining point of entry for generations of migrants from across the world, the Whitechapel Art Gallery’s extensive group exhibition ‘Faces in the Crowd’...

Naked City

By Asa Jordan

As Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake peels back the façade of 50’s London, so the Director’s portrait end-century capital in Naked revealed a settlement of ambiguous alienation which continues to inform our vision of the metropolis.

Here Is Where we Meet

By John Berger

Writer and critic John Berger won the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. His latest fiction, Here Is Where We Meet, will be published by Bloomsbury in March, launching a 6 week London-wide celebration of his remarkable work in all media...

Scene Afresh

By Osama Qashoo

I come from the village of Qalqilya in the West Bank, and grew up within a story which was too close, too fierce, painful and present to tell. Only now, from the privileged distance of the National Film and Television School (NFTS) am I learning the technique and art of storytelling in images.

Iraq and a Hard Place

By Tom Charity

Salam Pax hadn’t been to a film festival before he came to Vancouver last Autumn. Not as a filmmaker anyway. In fact, he tells me, he hasn’t been to the cinema for quite some time.

Reality: Check

By Asu Aksoy

Director Fatih Akin is the 30-year-old son of Turkish migrant parents, born in Hamburg, where he has lived all his life. He has been making films for the last decade, and, in 2004, his latest feature Head-On (Gegen Die Wand) became the first German film in 18 years to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

About Time

By Chris Darke

Finally, (at last), we have the first study in English of the career of Chris Marker (Chris Marker: Memories of the Future) in which Catherine Lupton takes the reader on a chronological journey through the work of the man she describes as ‘a towering and seminal figure’ in contemporary visual culture.

Affirmative Actions: Sally Potter on Yes

By Sally Potter | John Berger

Sally Potter’s, urgent and ambitious new feature Yes seeks a common ground beyond the divisions sought and often imposed by power. Here she reveals how and why the film came to be made, John Berger offers some thoughts on its relevance; and overleaf we publish exclusive extracts from the screenplay.

Chain Reactions

By Kieron Corless

Jem Cohen’s documentary films constantly blur boundaries and cross genres, as in Lost Book Found (1996), with its beguiling blend of essay, autobiography and fiction. The newly released Chain, Cohen’s first fully-fledged feature film, deploys a similar technique.

Light Readings

By Nick Stewart

It’s not that long ago that the Polaroid camera was at the height of technological innovation, yet today, although still admired and popular, it has largely been superseded by digital media. However, two recent publications have credited this technology with a somewhat more elevated status.

A Time of Unhuman Bodies

By Emilie Bickerton

To ‘live in the moment’ is often presented favourably, but what does it really suggest? A ‘freer’ existence perhaps, one without ties to people, profession or property. A full appreciation of the world as it is, unmediated by rational thought or reflection.

Situationism Now

By David Pinder

Guy Debord has become increasingly well known in recent years for his central role in the revolutionary Situationist International and for his devastating critical writings on ‘the society of the spectacle’. Yet his work as a filmmaker – one of the few labels that he willingly accepted – remains obscure.

The Eventless and the Event

By Steven Eastwood

An empty travelogue featuring two landscapes, that of America, East to West, and of Bud Clay’s (Gallo’s) physical presence, Gallo’s film – and it is in every sense his, given that he wrote, directed, oversaw camera, acted in and edited the film – presents the blankness of grief and the complexity of male emotion and desire.

Man in a Box

By Anita Biressi | Heather Nunn

The exposure and, more particularly, self-exposure of psychological and bodily trauma has become the central feature of our ‘post-documentary’ culture. Television talk shows, observational documentary, life-style programming and reality TV all facilitate the exhibition and consumption of personal pain and suffering...

Tricks of the Light

By Chris Darke

A few years ago, at the Colindale Newspaper Library, I was consulting the various Gleaners and Gazettes that served the West Country during the early 1920s when, spooling through microfiched pages of births, marriages, deaths and county shows, a small news item caught my eye: ‘Daring daylight raid on local bank’.

Shorts... Cut

By Metin Alsanjak

Three curators commissioned a series of ten artists’ films. Backed by a mobile communications giant, each film had a budget of 25,000 euros. The central rule: each work was to be no more than 3 minutes long.

Throw Your Watch to the Water

By Lucy Reynolds

In a rare recording, the Andalusian filmmaker Jose Val del Omar once referred to a film of the Alhambra he hoped to make, which would create ‘an unusual dream of intuited cinematography, as the images float with no apparent coherency.’

On Earth as it is in the Heavens

By James Norton

If, of all the arts, cinema is the most effective short cut to a new way of experiencing the world, then cinephiles will always long for the discovery of an obscure genius to tip the balance of consciousness and whirl them into new states of experience.

Frank Recollections

By Gerald M Fox

The omens were not good as I leafed through a number of books on the legendary Swiss-American photographer Robert Frank before meeting with Vicente Todolí, Director of Tate Modern and the curator of a then upcoming retrospective.

The Filmmaker that Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter

By George Clark | Mark A. Webber

The films of Owen Land (formerly known as George Landow) exist in a world of their own. They use and abuse the conventions of experimental cinema, animation, educational films and advertisements amongst other genres.

Epiphany Now

By Hannah Patterson

The questions posed in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line – the complex manner of its execution and its profound effect on many viewers – mark it as one of the most masterful and significant films in the history of cinema, let alone the war genre.

Revolt of the Body

By Stephen Barber

The performance-art form ‘Ankoku Butoh’ –  the ‘Dance of Darkness’ – was the creation of the choreographer Tatsumi Hijikata, born in 1928 in Akita, a north-western coastal region of Japan.

Great Briton

By Dai Vaughan

As the 20th century was drawing to a close, Gilbert Adair included Humphrey Jennings in a series of profiles of people whose reputations, he believed, would not survive the 21st.

Build it and they Will Film

By Nilesh Patel

Johan Pallasmaa is an award-winning architect and writer. His collection of essays, The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema, analyses the use of architectural imagery in cinema to evoke and maintain a range of emotional states, such as terror, anguish, suspense, boredom, alienation, melancholy...

Framing a Sadness

By Paul Buck

Hard on the heels of Chris Darke’s review of the state of cinema, as seen in books from France and Germany, in the last issue of Vertigo, comes a volume fresh from Portugal, which is not so much concerned with whether cinema is lying on the mortuary slab, but with circling the question: what is Portuguese cinema?

Thoughts on Screen

By Catherine Elwes

William Raban is an established experimental filmmaker, whose commitment to the business of creating and experiencing film stretches back to the early 1970s, when his practice evolved in the creative ferment of the London Film-makers’ Co-op...

The Story of Film

By Sukhdev Sandhu

Mark CousinsThe Story of Film, whose spiky passion may be gauged by its early choice of quotation from Lauren Bacall – “The industry is shit, it’s the medium that’s great” – is a terrific exception.

Point of No Return

By Gareth Evans

Recent events have given the world fatal confirmation, if it were needed, of the sea’s potent erasures, but a remarkable, and far-reaching photographic project also conveys the ocean’s literally awful sublime, with altogether different results.

Human Rights Watch

By Sarah Harvey

In these times of supposedly easy answers and immediate information, we rely heavily on the news media to tell us how it is – a story makes headlines for a little while and then disappears as quickly as it arrived. Or so the news media would have us believe.

The Other Cinema: In Memory (Closed 14.11.2004)

By John Berger

I can't tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten.

Turning Heads

By Dryden Goodwin

Multi-talented artist Dryden Goodwin creates a suspended cinema with potent etchings.

Planet Film, 24 Frames at a Time

By Nicholas Royle

Not only is there a strong tradition of both documentary and feature film production in Belgium, but for all its problems and the difficulties it faces in terms of raising adequate funding, Belgian cinema is going through a period of extraordinary quality.

Volume 2 – Issue 8 – Spring/Summer 2005  

For Tatiana Vargas, thank you for all your help and support
“…The very taste of this moment” – Chris Marker
Managing Editor: Holly Aylett
Editor: Gareth Evans
Editorial Assistant: Metin Alsanjak
Events Producer: Di Robson
Production Assistant: Eleanor Brown, Tatiana Vargas
Interns: Nancy Harrison, Jose Baena, Christy Kulz, Jeremy Hung, Jon Crawford  

Editorial Board
: Holly Aylett, Michael Chanan, Gareth Evans, Gaylene Gould, James Leahy, Thessa Mooij, Hannah Patterson, Julian Petley.  

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

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

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