Refocusing the Lens:
from the Centre to the Margins
Magnum Photos is hosting its first film festival in the UK, at the Rio Cinema in East London from July 30 – August 3.
The festival presents an interrogation of the legendary photo agency’s 75-year archive through five film screenings and accompanying discussions, each zooming in on issues of ethics, underrepresentation and positionality behind the lens.
Shown as part of ‘Film Feels Curious’, a UK-wide cinema season organized by the British Film Institute (BFI), the program takes a critical look at the role of photojournalism and the urge to document global issues through the lens of curiosity – conscious of the outrage, empathy, and moral compulsion that drives many photographers, while also highlighting its voyeuristic, detached and sometimes exploitative tendencies.
The festival showcases work by four Magnum photographers made in four locations: Khalik Allah in the US, Chris Steele-Perkins in Sub-Saharan Africa, Susan Meiselas in Latin America, and Patrick Zachmann in the Mediterranean. Each will be shown alongside works by a wide range of local filmmakers and followed by an audience discussion session, led by acclaimed speakers.
This event is part of Film Feels Curious, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. Explore all films and events at filmfeels.co.uk.
Representations of the US
30 July, 2022
John Irving’s itinerant 1969 enquiry into photojournalism sets the scene for this event, in which the same setting is revisited by two auteurs with distinctly different positionalities. Wandering the streets of Harlem, Bruce Davidson and Khalik Allah contemplate urban decay and racialized disfranchisement, as well as the constant and evolving debates on the moral implications of documenting such environments.
Beautiful, Beautiful (1969, 50m) by John Irvin, Archival Exclusive
Urban Rashomon (2013, 21m) by Khalik Allah
Autonomy within the Archives:
Representations of Sub-Saharan Africa
31 July, 2022
An exploration of power dynamics, intention, positionality, and the spectre of colonialism in relation to European depictions of Sub-Saharan Africa, in which earnest questions are often met with uneasy answers.
Dying for Publicity (1993, 70m) by Chris Steele-Perkins, Archival Exclusive
Specialised Technique (2018, 8m) by Onyeka Igwe
Kumbuka (59m, 2021) by Petna Ndaliko Katondolo, UK Premiere
Followed by panel discussion with Dr Errol Francis and Onyeka Igwe moderated by Nana Ama Owusu-Ansah
An Arts Ecology:
Representations of the Mediterranean
1 August, 2022
In this double bill, the interactions between film and photography are explored with a specific focus on stories centring the Mediterranean region. From the Bay of Algiers to the island of Lampedusa, questions of colonialism and its aftermath, intercultural encounters, and geopolitics emerge as central themes in these films exploring the role imagery plays in memorialisation at both the familial and national level.
Mare-Mater (2014, 52m) by Patrick Zachmann, UK Premiere
The Algerian Novel, Chapter I (2016, 15m) by Katia Kameli
Followed by panel discussion with Dr Arthur Asseraf and Taous R. Dahmani moderated by Emma Bouraba
Rebellion and Recollection:
Representations of Latin America
2 August, 2022
In this event, the Sandinista movement in Nicaragua is explored via personal, state and photojournalistic archives. Susan Meiselas’ documentary reflecting upon her seminal coverage of the resistance struggle are complemented by a deeply personal meditation on the intimate and familial, with conflicting ideologies emerging as a recurring theme.
In Pictures from a Revolution (1991, 93m) by Susan Meiselas with co-directors Alfred Guzzetti and Richard P Rogers
Sex and the Sandinistas (1991, 25m) by Lucinda Broadbent
Followed by a conversation between Ileana L. Selejan and Bayryam Bayryamali
The camera as an agent of history
3 August, 2022
This finalé critically examines the role of the camera in the making and writing of history, exploring the notion of iconic images, the expansive use of photojournalism, and the relationship between the archive and reality. Film by Ariella Aisha Azoulay are shown together in dialogue to explore the questions of who holds the power to represent a subject or an event and who is able to shape history.
The Angel of History (2000, 70m) by Ariella Aisha Azoulay
One Day Off in Hackney (1984, 10m) by Rio Tape/Slide Newsgroup
Followed by a panel discussion with Zoé Samudzi and Jaime Marie Davis moderated by Bayryam Bayryamli