The Essay Film Festival returns in March with a wide-ranging selection of formally ambitious and politically engaged films of past and present.
Submitted by The Essay Film Festival
The Essay Film Festival takes place 25-31 March, with screenings and events at the ICA and Birkbeck Cinema, and two additional festival events at the BFI on 13 March and 10 April.
- Programme on Essay Film Festival website
- Special events at BFI on 13 March and 10 April
- Programme on ICA website
Experimental and political, the essay film calls into question the language of representation and operates at the forefront of cinema’s critical engagement with the world. Programme highlights from this year’s festival include:
Lebanese artist Rania Stephan’s intimate conversational portrait of Syrian writer and activist Samar Yazbek explores the limits of language in the face of atrocity and displacement, while her Beirut street-scenes and her mixing of private and public archives ask important questions about memory and witnessing.
The inherent violence of colonialism and its cultural legacies are examined by Med Hondo’s essay on the lives of immigrant workers in France and by Assia Djebar’s poetic reworking of archive images shot in the Maghreb.
Innovative and creative approaches to anthropological investigation are proposed by Ruchir Joshi’s study of Bengal’s traditional wandering musicians and by Jocelyne Saab’s lovingly crafted portrayals of Egypt in a time of transition.
A new essay film by Lis Rhodes combines aesthetic complexity and social analysis, while a collaboration between researcher Ian Christie and filmmaker Chiemi Shimada casts a fresh eye on Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s time spent in Mexico in 1931.
Finally, two daytime events at Birkbeck Cinema are devoted respectively to short films made by Brazilian documentarist Aloysio Raulino and to the rich archive of essay films produced by the Arts Council.
Come and join us!
On behalf of the Essay Film Festival: Matthew Barrington, Michael Temple, and Emma Yapp; Kieron Corless, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Janet McCabe, Raquel Morais, and Laura Mulvey.
The Essay Film Festival at ICA & Birkbeck Cinema (25 to 31 MAR 2023), booking now!
ALSO BOOKING NOW!
DISCOVER MORE FILM // SUPPORT INDIE CINEMA
RADIANT CIRCUS is powered by monthly subscribers. Get great rewards & help #ReviveTheDark. JOIN US!
*THE SMALL PRINT: Opinions author’s own. // As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any errors. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version only. // Event dates/times/formats are subject to change by the venue/organiser. Events may already be sold out at the time of posting, so please click quickly. // We try to list as many original format screenings as we can (8 to 70MM), but sometimes formats change due to age of the print, availability, logistics etc, so please check ahead with your venue if the format is your thing. // All images are used in the spirit of fair use for reporting & review – no ownership is implied or intended / unless otherwise credited to RADIANT CIRCUS as the original rights holder. We will remove any images immediately upon request – just get in touch. // We don’t filter our listings by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should therefore be 18+. // Finally, we always try to follow The Carny Code by “not screwing up anyone else’s game”, but everyone can make mistakes… If something does go wrong, we will always do our best to put it right. //.