This programme features films that engage post-colonial processes covering different moments and geopolitical contexts. The Asian-African Conference in 1955, known as the Bandung Conference, amidst the complex processes of decolonization, established self-determination, non-aggression, and equality as part of the core values that then formed the Non-Aligned Movement. This history is unpacked and contextualised through this series of screenings.
Co-curated by writer and curator Mark Nash and film researcher Vladimir Seput.
Screening on loop during opening hours.
7 – 12 April 2020
Joris Ivens, Indonesia Calling, 1946
35mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 22 min
The film gives a glimpse of the immediate post-World War II Sydney, where trade union seamen and waterside workers refused to service Dutch ships which contained arms and ammunition, destined for Indonesia, utilising them to bring the Indonesian National Revolution to a halt. The film seeks to distil aspects of the historical context of the events depicted in the film and give insight to the major re-alignments in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia.
14 – 19 April 2020
First conference of Non-Aligned Movement, 1961
Archive footage, colour, sound, 10 min 51 sec
Archive footage from the first conference of the 1961 Non-Aligned Movement, otherwise known as the Belgrade Conference, presenting historical events from the meeting. The inaugural conference was initiated by three key figures: Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia; Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt; and Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India. Attended by 25 countries from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the conference is a direct response to the division of sphere of influence settled between the major world forces after WWII and the Cold War, enabling members to independently formulate their own position in international politics.
21 – 26 April 2020
Ousmane Sembène, Borom Sarret, 1963
35mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 18 min
Borom Sarret is often considered the first film ever made in Africa by a black African. The stark masterpiece chronicles a day in the life of a Dakar cart driver. The frustrating day of this "borom sarret" (a Wolof expression for cart driver), where he encounters an unfortunate array of characters, leaving him cheated out of his wages and deprived of his cart. In this powerful evocative film with urban details and a socially critical voice, Sembène conveys the toll of natural loss, poverty, and the stain of European colonisation of Africa.
28 April – 3 May 2020
Mikhail Kalatozov, I am Cuba (Soy Cuba), 1964
35mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 141 min
I am Cuba follows four short stories outlining the sufferings of Cubans during the Cuban Revolution. Maria, a young woman who works at a Havana nightclub that caters to rich Americans who is forced to entertain and sleep with tourists for money; Pedro, a tenant farmer whose sugarcane fields are taken from him after the landowner decides to sell the plot to an American company; Enrique, a young revolutionary and university student who is part of the intellectual resistance; and Mariano, a peasant who is moved to take up arms and join the rebel army after a government bomb kills his son. The film is narrated by Raquel Revuelta, carrying the story to its conclusion: the triumph of the revolution.
5 – 10 May 2020
Ousmane Sembène, Black Girl (La noire de... ), 1966
35mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 60 min
The film follows Senegal's first years of independence through a young ambitious woman, Diouana. She secures a job as a maid with a French couple working in Dakar. Seduced by the apparent kindness of her employers, she accepts their offer to follow the family to the French Cote d'Azur. In France, she finds herself imprisoned, being denied any time off and treated like an object. A harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement, critiquing the colonial mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Black Girl is the first black African feature film which screened at Cannes and won the Prix Jean Vigo and top prize at the Carthage Film Festival.
12 – 17 May 2020
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Memories of Underdevelopment, 1968
35mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 97 min
The film's narrative presented through the lens of Sergio, a wealthy bourgeois aspiring writer, during the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. His family decides to retreat to Miami during the turmoil of social changes. The film is interspersed with real-life documentary footage of protest and political events in which Sergio's life and personal relationship unfolds. As the threat of foreign invasion intensifies looms over Sergio, his desire for companionship also intensifies.
19 – 24 May 2020
Želimir Žilnik, Early Works (Rani Radovi), 1969
35mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 58 min
Early Works (Ravi Radovi) recounts a story of youths who took part in student demonstrations, set June 1968 in Belgrade. Three young men and a girl, Yugoslava, set out to defy the petit-bourgeois routine of everyday life. Wanting to change the world and inspired by the writings of the young Karl Marx, they go to the country to persuade the peasants in their fight for emancipation. They eventually get arrested. Frustrated as the planned revolution has not been realised, the three young men decide to kill Yugoslava. They shoot her, cover her with the party flag and burn her body. The smoke rising up into the sky is the only thing that remains of the intended revolution.
26 – 31 May 2020
Želimir Žilnik, Shorts: Black Film (Cri Film), 1971
16 mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 14 min
The film chronicles Žilnik picking up a group of homeless men from the streets of Novi Sad and taking them to his home. Žilnik carries along a film camera to witness his efforts to "solve the problem of the homeless," while the group of homeless men enjoy themselves in his house. He speaks to social workers, members of the general public, and even engages with the policemen. However, they turn a blind eye to the "problem" at hand
2 – 7 June 2020
Karpo Godina, Litany of Happy People (Zdravi ljudi za razonodu), 1971
35mm transferred to digital file, colour, sound, 15 min
The Litany of Happy People is a song-film about the diverse group of people living harmoniously in rural Vojvodina, an autonomous province of Serbia known for its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic identity. The film presents families with multi-ethnic backgrounds, standing in front of their seemingly similar but colourful rural houses. The film won numerous awards at short film festivals.
9 – 14 June 2020
Karpo Godina, About Art of Love or a Film with 14441 Frames (O ljubavnim veštinama ili film sa 14441 kvadratom), 1972
Colour, sound, 10 min
This film presents an almost journalistic report of the female textile workers and male military soldiers in the Macedonian village of Stip. Interwoven with military footage and shots of the village, the alternating scenes present the two groups in proximity, while being completely isolated. The film went through a thorough restoration process in 2016 and was shown at the 30th edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy.
16 – 21 June 2020
Isaac Julien, Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask, 1995
35mm transferred to digital file, colour, sound, 70 min
This film interrogates the life and work of Frantz Fanon, a highly influential anti-colonial writer, civil rights activist, and psychoanalytic theorist from Martinique. The docudrama is interspersed with archival footage of Fanon as well as interviews with family members and colleagues. Reflecting on the black body and its representations, the film is rooted in the black arts movement in Britain and North America.
Isaac Julien CBE RA (United Kingdom) is a distinguished filmmaker and installation artist. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. Julien's notable documentary-drama, Looking for Langston (1989), garnered him a cult following. His works have shown in solo shows internationally, and he participated in various biennales. Most recently, he received the Charles Wollaston Award (2017) for most distinguished work at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and in 2018 he was made a Royal Academician. Julien was awarded the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's birthday honours, 2017.
Image: Production still from Želimir Žilnik, Early Works (Rani Radovi), 1969, 35mm transferred to digital file, b&w, sound, 58 min. Courtesy Andrej Popovic.