Essential Cinema is our pluralist retrospective series that provides a revisionist view of what might be considered canonical works of cinema. The 2021 selection brings new restorations and digitisations that evoke connections between political and spiritual awakenings, taking in projects from India, Cuba, USA and Palestine.
A young cultural activist Purushan (Joy Mathew) is on his way to Delhi when he sees the dead body of Hari, a tabla player and Naxalite. Purushan begins a long journey to inform Hari’s mother of her son’s death, collecting comrades and perspectives on the struggle along his journey.
The screening in Berwick-upon-Tweed will be introduced by Dr. Omar Ahmed, film scholar & international curator of South Asian Cinema.
Recently restored, we are grateful to the National Film Archive of India for their generosity in allowing us to present John Abraham’s film. Unfortunately, it is not available online at this time.
Described by S. Pearl Sharp as “a visual poem on identity”, Back Inside Herself shows a Black woman finding her own sense of self and rejecting hegemonic societal expectations of who she should be and how she should behave.
Made by pioneering Cuban filmmaker Sara Gómez, One Way or Another is a bold work of revolutionary feminism. It is also a compelling and complex picture of Cuban life under socialism. The film is radical in its honest and unflinching assessment of the difficulties of living in a newly formed socialist society. It astutely shows the struggles of marginalised communities adapting to revolutionary ideals, whilst casting a critical lens on the machismo, class and race discrimination that was still present in Castro’s post-revolutionary Cuba.
Watch One Way or Another (1977) Sara Gómez’s “bold work of revolutionary feminism” alongside Back Inside Herself (1984) by S. Pearl Sharp. Back Inside Herself is newly restored by Cinenova and will be accompanied by On the Inside a prose poem by London-based poet Sarah Lasoye.
The screening is a prelude to Cinenova’s The Work We Share – a programme of 10 newly digitised films from the Cinenova collection. All have been captioned by Collective Text and are accompanied by 10 new artist response commissions, which will tour the UK throughout 2021-22.
The Void Project looks at the effect of the absence of Palestinian visual archives on the construction of a Palestinian visual narrative. The project was founded by Palestinian documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, producer and writer Azza El-Hassan, whose documentary films mostly reflect her experience living in exile and her experience living in Palestine. In this programme, El-Hassan brings together a selection of films produced by the Palestine Film Institute in Jordan and Lebanon during the revolutionary years of Palestinian Cinema. These films are a testimony to both the history of international solidarity with Palestine, as well as the ongoing struggle for a self determined Palestinian narrative. — Jemma Desai
The screening at the Maltings will be introduced by Sheyma Buali, a programmer, producer and writer and member of the London Palestine Film Festival programming team since 2011.
Back Inside Ourselves is a workshop that features three recent works by filmmakers Tako Taal (DUMP_outthroughthemouth), Rhiana Bonterre (Rhythms of my Silence) and Ufuoma Essi (Bodies in Dissent). Their works are brought into dialogue with S. Pearl Sharpe’s Back Inside Herself (newly digitised by Cinenova and playing in BFMAF 2021’s Essential Cinema strand).
The Screenings will be accompanied by a response from London-based poet Sarah Lasoye commissioned by Cinenova and followed by an open participatory discussion with the filmmakers.
Artist, writer and researcher Jamila Prowse has been invited to write a reflective text on the workshop that will be published after.
There are only 12 places available at the workshop so please only book a space if you are definitely able to attend. Book your free space here.
Participants will be asked to wear masks throughout the event and adhere to 1m social distancing.
Supported by Berwick Visual Arts