September

September 11, Lecture hall 10
Surya by Laurent van Lancker, 2006 (75 min)

Once upon a journey, 10 contemporary storytellers of different cultures create an imaginary epic story. They each draw on their own style and language to perpetuate the life of a nameless hero. The aromas of cultures, the taste of words and the perfume of travelling carry us from one storyteller to the next. Like an epic story, this film oscillates between imagination and reality, the inner world and the outside world, documentary and fiction. An ode to the oral tradition, this impressionistic film is the outcome of an overland odyssey by public transport from dusk to dawn, through Europe and Asia (Belgium, Slovakia, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Vietnam).


September 18, Lecture hall 4
To Live with Herds by Judith and David MacDougall, 1974 (70 min)

This classic, widely acclaimed film on the Jie of Uganda, produced by the renowned ethnographic filmmaking team of David and Judith MacDougall, examines the effects of nation building in pre-Amin Uganda on the seminomadic, pastoral Jie. Much more than an intrinsically interesting historical document, it has achieved classic status among ethnographic films owing to its remarkable success in developing a coherent analytical statement about its subjects' situation, yet at the same time allowing them to speak for themselves about the world as they see and experience it. The film explores life in a traditional Jie homestead during a harsh dry season. The talk and work of adults go on, but there is also hardship and worry, exacerbated by government policies that seem to attack rather than support the values and economic base of Jie society. A mother counts her children; among them is a son she hardly knows who has joined the educated bureaucracy. Later we find him supervising famine relief for his own people in a situation that seems far beyond his control. At the end of the film Logoth, the protector of the homestead, travels to the west to rejoin his herds in an area of relative plenty; at least for the time being his life seems free from official interference.

Le Maitrés Fous (The Mad Masters) by Jean Rouch, 1955 (30 min)

In the bustling African port city of Accra, a burgeoning outpost of the British Empire, young men from the surrounding area find work in a variety of occupations. This is a place of contradictions, symbolized by two parades through the downtown streets, one by the daughters of Jesus, the other by local prostitutes. Some of the young men travel out to the countryside to take part in extraordinary rituals in which they dress up, fall into a trance and perform animal sacrifices. After the ceremony, they return to the city and the normal routine of their lives.


September 25, Lecture hall 4
Forest of Bliss by Robert Gardner, 1986 (90 min)

Forest of Bliss is an unsparing yet redemptive account of the inevitable griefs, religious passions and frequent happinesses that punctuate daily life in Benares, India's most holy city. The film unfolds from one sunrise to the next without commentary, subtitles or dialogue. It is an attempt to give the viewer a wholly authentic, though greatly magnified and concentrated, sense of participation in the experiences examined by the film.

 

October

October 9, Lecture hall 4
Images of the World and Inscriptions of War by Harun Farocki, 1988 (75 min)

Farocki ponders two sets of images of the Holocaust and makes them readable by way of two strategies of recovery. A dialogue is established between two films made twenty years apart, sketching two formal responses to the question of the role visual knowledge plays in our understandings of History. An experimental work, whose central motif is an aerial photograph of Auschwitz taken by an American reconnaissance aeroplane on 4 April 1944. From this photograph, analysts were able to identify the surrounding factories, but not the death camp. Dialectical editing and distantiated commentary add to this documentary essay that analyses the conditions of readability of images, of 'seeing' and 'knowing', interweaving the multiple meanings of words and photographs.


October 16, Lecture hall 4
Dark Days by Marc Singer, 2000 (94 min)

This documentary depicts a community of homeless people living in a train tunnel beneath Manhattan, a way of life that is unimaginable to most of those who walk the streets above. The director abandoned life on the outside to spend all of his time in the tunnels, making it his home for two years. The film is an eye-opening experience that shatters the myths of homelessness with the strength and universality of the people the film represents.


October 23, Lecture hall 4
The Lover and the Beloved by Andrew Lawrence, 2011 (70 min)

A documentary feature film about one man's journey across northern India and his search for enlightenment. Rajive McMullen, a history teacher suffering from a debilitating illness, makes the painful journey into the heart of Tantra, searching for meaning in holy shrines, coming close to death in cremation grounds and enjoying the chaos of the Aghori seekers. This film offers dramatic insight into Tantrik ideas about the life cycle, particularly death, and contributes much to our understanding of how we seek knowledge and how we die. The Lover and The Beloved also represents a realistic attempt to understand both the practice and illusive theory behind Indian Tantrism, and is intended to challenge widespread Western misinterpretations of this system of thought. Along the way we visit Kamakhya Devi in Assam and Tarapith in West Bengal, two of the most important centres of Tantrik Hinduism.


October 30, Lecture hall 4
Parallax by Arjang Omrani, 2011 (60 min)

Parallax is a documentary of the mind and imagination. A collaborative docu-fiction project which is the result of a provocative and intersubjective series of dialogues between the director and the participants as collaborators about their senses and feelings towards the concept of home, disorientation and displacement. Each of us conceptualized our ideas differently (individually or collaboratively) and then interpreted and authored them into different audio-visual forms and created this collage of short films as a reflection of the process of doing this project. The project is conceptually inspired by Jean Rouch and his concept of shared anthropology.

 

November

November 6, Lecture hall 4
Other Europe by Rosella Schillaci, 2011 (75 min)

What happens to African migrants once granted political refugee status? In Turin, a northern Italian city, an abandoned clinic has been squatted by more than 200 refugees since December 2008. Khaled, Shukri and Ali have been travelling through this hell in order to arrive in Italy. Three emblematic characters guide us through a story that reveals, intimately, a collective history, an emblematic tale of all European countries today and their respective immigration policies and the changes occurring in the social fabric of European cities.

 

November 13, Lecture hall 4
Fieldplay. Video Haptic & ASMR by Sara Legg, 2012 (23 min)

In this film, Sara Legg investigates how groups of young people interested in making and watching haptic video have formed a community through social media. The community members explore ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), sensuous experiences that are responses to specific internal and external stimuli, caused by seeing and hearing somebody doing something with their hands or by talking very gently. Legg organizes and films an event where community members interact as performers and audience, and the final film further includes amateur material from youtube.

Telling Stories with Differences by Zineb Sedira, 2004 (20 min)

Zineb Sedira’s work refers stylistically to traditions of documentary realism, French cinema verité and photographic representation and encompasses a variety of media including film, video, photography, writing and oral history. Born in Paris to Algerian parents in the 1960s, Sedira is part of the second generation of immigrants to France and the specificity of her personal geography is central to her artistic output. She explores the seeming paradox of having a European education whilst being brought up within a North African Muslim community. Her work sensitively questions this ‘paradox’ using spoken, written and visual narratives.

 

November 20, Lecture hall 4
Into the field by Alyssa Grossman, 2005 (28 min)

This film examines the everyday secular lives of nuns residing in the Romanian Orthodox monastery of Varatec. By visually exploring the social aesthetics of the monastery, the film depicts certain aspects of the nuns’ everyday, lived experience. Instead of exclusively focusing on the spiritual qualities of monastery existence, it documents the secular aspects of the nuns’ relationships, activities and routines, and offers a glimpse into the concrete ways in which they negotiate their identities within the separate yet connected spaces of home and church.
The film also incorporates brief sequences of stop-motion animation, demonstrating some of the trials and tribulations that anthropologists sometimes encounter during filming and fieldwork. Intended as a reflexive meta-commentary, these passages point to some of the unpredictable and often uncontrollable processes of ethnographic investigation.

Hillside Beauties by Julia Kurc, 2008 (30 min)

In a violent, marginalized and discriminated environment such as the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, women create a time and a space to construct their identities and beauties. The film introduces us to Marcella, Thuany and Nagila, three young girls who deal with the difficulties of their social reality in a particular and beautiful way. The film depicts how the girls negotiate their bodily appearances in relation to individual aims as well as moral and aesthetic expectations, in an ambiguous everyday settings that embodies threats of shoot-outs at the same time as if offers refuge.