The Zerda
and the Songs of
                  Forgetting



Tuesday 27th February  2024, Metrolands Studios, London, 18:30 - 21:30

The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetting (1982) revisits the colonisation of the Maghreb. Drawn from French newsreels from 1912–42, the film employs experimental montage to search for the truth and reveal the resistance across this thirty-year period. The soundtrack brings together multivocal chants and avant-garde music to form a furious swan song to colonial violence. Djebar creates a complex picture of Algeria's colonial history, focusing particularly on the role and representation of women during this period.

Screening with Katia Kameli’s Bledi a possible scenario (2004). Throughout the video, image, sound and language (spoken, sung or written – on street signs or in the subtitles) are combined, and re-combined, to reveal ‘Algeria’ as a site of competing discourses, a culture in the constant process of ‘becoming’ (Stuart Hall 1990). We are presented with fragments of individual yet intersecting micro- narratives – alternative, partial, local perspectives, which together counter the persistently reductive, totalising images of Algeria in certain Western media. 

With a specially produced sound piece consisting of Algerian songs of resistance, voice notes and field recordings by Emma Bouraba and Bint Mbareh.

After the screening we will host a reading circle where participants are invited to read, share, and reflect on texts that respond to the themes of the programme and Assia Djebar’s writing more generally - including the Song, inverting the colonial gaze and oral histories. You are invited to bring any piece of writing to share in the reading circle including a poem, short text or essay except, but there is no pressure or expectation to do so.

Link to Tickets 

Triumph 



Tuesday 12th December  2023, Reference Point, London, 19:00 - 23:00

Triumph (2022) dir. Kaveh Abbasian is an essay film about the state-sanctioned narratives of Iran's 1979 Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) as propagated by the Islamic filmmaker Morteza Avini (1947-1993), in comparison with the narratives of the survivors of the 1980s repression and massacre of the opposition under the Islamic Republic of Iran. The film is mostly comprised of found footage which are accompanied by recently shot interviews with three survivors who now live in political exile.

Triumph is a result of five years of research as part of the director's practice-based PhD project in Film and Television Studies at the University of Roehampton, London. The footage used in the film has been chosen from among more than a hundred hours of archive footage and is mostly from Morteza Avini's television war documentary series Chronicle of Triumph (1986-1988).

Screening with Sanaz Sohrabi’s short film Notes on Seeing Double (2018). Notes on Seeing Double takes the figure of speech of “Temsaal | تمثال” in Farsi as its point of departure to unpack the anatomy of a revolution. Through a rare juxtaposition of a documentary photograph taken in the February of 1979 in Tehran and a painting drawn by Rembrandt depicting the famous anatomy theatre of Amsterdam in 1632, Notes on Seeing Double analyses the conditions of visuality within different systems of knowledge production.

Followed by Q&A with Dr Kaveh Abbasian moderated by artist, writer and filmmaker Bahar Noorizadeh.

With sonic offerings by Bint Mbareh and Only Voice Remains. Only Voice Remains will present a sonic offering comprising of voice notes, poetry, music, readings, reflections, protest sounds and speeches that sets out to amplify the radical narratives of the current moment and seek collective strategies of resistance. 

Tickets available here

The
Year of the 
             Beaver 



Saturday 20th May 2023, The Electric Cinema, Birmingham, 13:00 - 15:10

The Year of the Beaver (1985) dir. Dave Fox, Steve Sprung, Sylvia Stevens charts how the workforce of a film processing laboratory in Willesden formed of predominately Asian women, most of whom had only recently arrived in the UK as a result of being expelled from East Africa, were led by their former colleague, Jayaben Desai to take strike action. 

The Grunwick dispute has been positioned as a landmark event for non-white representation in the labour movement. This event aims to address this version of history, contextualising Grunwick within a long history of South Asian activism in the UK, and acknowledging the many ways in which the union failed to provide support for the striking workers. 

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Taj Ali, industrial correspondent at Tribune magazine covering trade unionism, work and industrial disputes. This will present an opportunity to discuss the idea of a unified class struggle, the union as a framework for social change, and and the resurgence of the labour movement in Britain. 

As part of this programme we are presenting a specially published risograph zine of texts considering the ways the strike has been mis-remembered. With constributions from Dr Sundari Anitha, Professor of Gender, Violence and Work at the University of Lincoln, Professor Ruth Pearson, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at the University of Leeds, and Amrit Wilson, a writer, journalist and activist focusing on issues of race and gender in Britain and South Asian politics. 

Link to Tickets 

Digging
for a Palestinian
                          Image



Saturday 13th - Sunday 21st May 2023, Brixton Community Cinema Screening Room

During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the Israeli military destroyed the Palestinian Film Unit's archive and confiscated its materials. The Israeli military still controls access to the archive and it remains unavailable to Palestinians for viewing.

Kings and Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image (2004) directed by founder of The Void Project Azza El-Hassan tracks her search through Syria, Jordan and Lebanon for the lost films of the Palestinian Film Unit. Positioning the films as archaeological artefacts, the documentary considers their significance in terms of cultural property and the collective memory.

Palestine in the Eye (1977) was directed by Mustafa Abu Ali, produced by the Palestinian Film Institute and has been recently restored by Azza El-Hassan. It chronicles the profound impact of the death of Hani Jawharieh, one of the founders of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Film Unit who was named a cinema martyr after he was killed while filming combat in Ain Toura, Lebanon in 1976.

Co-curated with Abiba Coulibaly, founder of Brixton Community Cinema.

Link to tickets