Session 1: The City Symphonies of the 1920s
Looking at early examples of documentary and city films revolving around urban life style and modern architecture, e.g. Walter Ruttman’s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927), and Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929).
Session 2: Jean Rouch and Cinéma Vérité
Best known for Chronicle of a Summer (1961), Jean Rouch is one of the most controversial figures in ethnographic filmmaking. His film Petit à Petit (1970) tells the story of an African businessman who is conducting ethnographic research in Paris – a reversed anthropology.
Session 3: The Heart of the Angel and Observational Cinema
Working from Molly Dineen’s The Heart of the Angel (1989), a film following 48 hours in the everyday lives of the people who work on the London Underground, this session will discuss the history of British documentary and the stylistic conventions of observational cinema.
Session 4: La Haine and Docu-Fiction
Mathieu Kassovitz’s powerful drama La Haine (1995) takes an unblinking look at a racially diverse group of young people trapped in the Parisian economic and social underclass. Using the film as a starting point, this session will explore the history of the city’s colonialism.
Session 5: US Filmmakers and Slow Cinema
Filmmakers such as Safi Faye, Jacques Rivette, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lav Diaz, Chantal Akerman or James Benning have experimented with slow representations of time and silence. In contrast we will watch personal accounts of everyday life by Jonas Mekas.
Session 6: [Guest Speaker] Dave Swindells on Club Culture in London 1980s-1990s (former Timeout Nightlife Editor and Photographer)
Dave Swindells will talk about the photographs that he took as a nightlife editor at Timeout on club culture and subculture in London during the 1980s-1990s.
Session 7: ‘The Exiles’ and Native Americans on Film
Kent MacKenzie spent his student days in the bars of Los Angeles where he befriended a gang of Native Americans. Following their dreams of urban life, The Exiles (1961), offers a refreshing perspective on people living in exile away from their native lands and traditions.
Session 8: Alice in the Cities
The first of the road films that would come to define the career of Wim Wenders, the magnificent Alice in the Cities is an emotionally generous and luminously shot odyssey. A German journalist (Rüdiger Vogler) is driving across the United States to research an article; it’s a disappointing trip, in which he is unable to truly connect with what he sees. Things change, however, when he has no choice but to take a young girl named Alice (Yella Rottländer) with him on his return trip to Germany, after her mother (Lisa Kreuzer)—whom he has just met—leaves the child in his care. Though they initially find themselves at odds, the pair begin to form an unlikely friendship.
Session 9: Presentations of ethnography projects
Session 10: Shinjuku Boys in Tokyo
Kim Longinotto’s film introduces three ‘onnabes’ – women who live as men and have girlfriends but don’t usually identify as lesbians -, working as club hosts in Tokyo. Shinjuku Boys (1995) is a remarkable documentary about the complexity of female sexuality in Japan.