UK + Ireland Release: Fri 12 May 2023
Dir. Ali Cherri
France / Sudan / Lebanon / Germany / Serbia / Qatar 2022, Arabic with English subtitles
Sudan, near the Merowe Dam. Maher works in a traditional brickyard fed by the waters of the Nile. Every evening, he secretly wanders off into the desert to build a mysterious construction made of mud. While the Sudanese people rise to claim their freedom, his creation slowly starts to take a life of its own.
Shot in Sudan during the revolution, this political fable is the debut feature from visual artist and filmmaker Ali Cherri, who received the Silver Lion for promising artist at the Venice Biennale.
UK Release: Friday 10 February 2023
Dir. The Myanmar Film Collective
Myanmar 2022, 70 min., Burmese with English subtitles
Myanmar Diaries documents life in the country after the violent military coup of February 2021. Using a collage of forms and genres, from harrowing smartphone footage to haunting ghost stories, the anonymous Myanmar Film Collective combines short films and powerful investigative journalism into a stirring and visceral testimony to the power of cinema as collective action.
The camera is a weapon often used by both sides in any political struggle – and so it is here. Scenes of citizens being forcefully removed are juxtaposed with struggles of resistance in everyday life, and we’re asked to question the visibility of a camera lens in its presence and in its absence. For oppressive regimes to succeed, they must conduct their crimes unseen. The Myanmar Film Collective understands this, bravely laying bare the horrifying levels of violence, injustice and murder in the country. The refrain of ‘Do you hear?’ in the film’s closing moments directly confronts us, the global community – and asks us to do more.
Dry Ground Burning (Mato seco em chamas)
UK Release: 2 September 2022
Dirs. Adirley Queirós & Joana Pimenta
Brazil / Portugal 2022, 153 min., Portuguese with English subtitles
This new TERRATREME production directed by Adirley Queirós and Joana Pimenta explores the turbulence of contemporary Brazil through the prism of the Gasolineiras de Kebradas: fearless Chitara, her sister Léa and their all-female gang in the Sol Nascente favela on the edge of Brasília, who hijack a pipeline in order to sell oil to their community.
Arid landscapes, hand-made machinery and meta-dimensional narratives combine to present an almost dreamlike reality. Lived-in locations, spontaneous protests against the Bolsonaro regime, non-professional actors playing versions of themselves – all help to form fictionalised layers interwoven with everyday struggles, exploring a reality that keeps burning beneath and above the earth. Dry Ground Burning offers an unflinching contemporary – and, perhaps, futuristic – reflection on what it means to embrace communality with painful ardour.
All Light, Everywhere
UK + Ireland Release: 22 July 2022
Dir. Theo Anthony
USA 2021, 109 min., English
Objectivity, or the lack of it, has been a key talking point in nonfiction cinema since Robert Flaherty’s
Nanook of the North (1922). Theo Anthony's third feature All Light, Everywhere reevaluates this notion and its interconnected meanings in a contemporary setting, drawing connections between colonial photographic methodologies of the 19th century and modern police technologies in Baltimore. Recent history and dramatic events have lent the film an even greater political pertinence and prompted larger discussions on the role of the police in our communities.
As spectators, we are urged to consider – as in the case of police body cameras, for instance – what is subjective or objective in any given viewpoint. Have smartphones, in the hands of bystanders, allowed for a more democratic holding-to-account of police brutality? All Light, Everywhere questions and reimagines the very idea of the ‘objective lens’, positioning the camera as a weapon for both the oppressors and the oppressed. UK + Ireland Release: 1 April 2022
Dir. Payal Kapadia
France / India 2021, 97 min., Hindi & Bengali with English subtitles World Premiere: Quinzaine des réalisateurs (Director’s Fortnight)
Payal Kapadia’s bold and distinctive debut feature is an immersive and spiritual work addressing issues of artist production as well as the political complexities of contemporary India. A Night of Knowing Nothing is framed by fictional letters from a female student to her estranged lover. The film initially lends itself to investigative fictional storytelling before exploring the political contradictions of contemporary India.
Combining a mixture of found footage, sketches and her own material, Kapadia – an alumna of the Film & Television Institute of India – repositions the work of fellow students at other educational establishments, charting the fractious relationship between a nation’s youth, its rigid caste structures, its families and its far-right government. Among many other ideas and leads, A Night of Knowing Nothing also aims to reimagine the role of a film school in this turbulent and often violent political epoch.