This summer, as part of its 75th-anniversary celebrations and in partnership with the BFI and Rio Cinema, Magnum presents an interrogation of its photojournalistic archives via film in a series of screenings and discussions

Magnum Photos is hosting its first UK Film Festival: Refocusing the Lens: from the Centre to the Margins from July 30–August 3 at the Rio Cinema in Dalston. The festival presents an interrogation of Magnum’s 75-year archive through five film screenings and discussions, each zooming in on issues of ethics, underrepresentation, and positionality behind the lens.

This stand aims to critically examine the role of the camera in the making and writing of history through an exploration of the notion of iconic images, the ever-growing use of photojournalism from past to present and the relationship between the archive and reality. The two films in dialogue directed by Clare Beavan and Ariella Aisha Azoulay explore the questions of who holds the power to represent an subject or an event and who is able to shape history.

Decisive Moments: The Photographs That Made History, Part I (Claire Beavan, 1997, 50m) – a BBC documentary looking at some of the early photojournalists and their photographs, particularly the world of American tabloids in the 1920s where photographers would do anything to get a picture.

The film The Angel of History (200, 70m) by photography theorist Ariella Aisha Azoulay deals with the troubling presence of unsolved past events in actual and imagined realities. It takes place in various public and private arenas like the artist’s studio, the arena of murder, the photographic frame, the museum, the body or the cemetery. The Angel of History offers new perspectives for understanding the complex relations which are spun around the museal space. The movie probes beyond the standard and limited museal relationships between artist and work or viewer and work, exposing the fragile, troubled and intimate relations between the various protagonists who participate in the becoming-public of the work of art.

With thanks to the BFI National TV Archive

This event is part of Film Feels Curious, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.

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