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Institute of Contemporary Arts
27 November – 13 December 2020

The ICA’s annual film festival FRAMES of REPRESENTATION returns for its fifth edition with a programme focussing on the role of spectatorship – a collection of works that explore the spaces between knowledge and participation through the act of viewing. The festival continues to be an international showcase for the cinema of the real, exploring in depth the aesthetic and political implications of filmmaking as both a collective practice and an art form. 

Exploring the spaces between knowledge and participation through the act of viewing, this year’s programme premieres 20 films from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America, as well as discussions and Q&As.

Questioning the role of the spectator within the current audiovisual landscape, FRAMES of REPRESENTATION 2020 aims to challenge the relationship between presentation and action. The selected films engage with a shared time that extends from the moment of screening into possibilities for imaginative transformation. The festival foregrounds the idea of the image as a proposal for the renegotiation of positions of reception and agency, providing a space for fluid dynamics rather than dichotomies.

This year, the festival addresses and resists the theoretical separation between (film)makers and audiences, individuals and collectives, referencing the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Rancière in The Emancipated Spectator (Verso, 2009):

Emancipation begins when we challenge the opposition between viewing and acting; when we understand that the self-evident facts that structure the relationship between saying, seeing and doing themselves belong to the structure of domination and subjection … The spectator also acts, like the pupil or the scholar. They observe, select, compare, interpret. They link what they see to a host of other things that they have seen on other stages, in other kinds of places. They compose their own poem with the element of the poem before them.

FRAMES of REPRESENTATION 2020 aims to foster collective learning in conversation with a community of filmmakers and activists while encouraging audiences to question traditional hierarchies and structures of seeing, listening and acting via the poetry of spectatorship.

Originally scheduled to take place in April, this 17-day programme will now screen via Cinema 3, the ICA's new online platform. FRAMES of REPRESENTATION is only available to audiences in the UK. Please do not book if outside the UK, as you will not be able to access the film.


FRAMES of REPRESENTATION is the ICA’s annual film festival, dedicated to foregrounding transgressive, unruly ‘cinema of the real’, which lies at the intersection of fiction and non-fiction.
Illustration by Sanya Kantarovsky

Friday 27 November 2020, 6:30pm GMT
Panamanian filmmaker Ana Elena Tejera’s Panquiaco offers an unflinching reflection on the concept of home.

Saturday 28 November, 4:30pm GMT
A Slovenian minority group in a remote Hungarian village grapples with grief and mortality following the death of an elderly villager.

Saturday 28 November, 7pm GMT
Irina Tsilyk’s first feature tracks a Ukrainian single mother and her family as they film their lives against a backdrop of conflict.

Sunday 29 November, 4pm GMT
Ksenia Okhapina’s observational study of a Russian industrial town that started life as a Soviet-era labour camp.

Sunday 29 November, 6:15pm GMT
Filmmakers Ksenia Okhapkina and Matjaž Ivanišin, whose work features in FRAMES of REPRESENTATION, discuss their filmmaking practices.

Tuesday 1 December, 6:45pm GMT
A group of boys hunt for a puma that has been stalking their village in Ezequiel Yanco’s evocative study of rural Argentina.

Wednesday 2 December, 6:45pm GMT
A devotional journey into the heart of the Argentinian Puna, a bare landscape shaped by myths and ancestral forces.

Thursday 3 December, 6:45pm GMT
Los conductos traces a restless man’s journey while simultaneously reflecting on the political and social landscape of Colombia.

Friday 4 December, 6pm GMT
Centred on 125th and Lexington in East Harlem, Khalik Allah’s monumental new diary film is a rich and deeply personal work.

Saturday 5 December, 6pm GMT
The first in FRAMES of REPRESENTATION’s two short film programmes features new works from Portugal, Brazil and France.

Sunday 6 December, 6:15pm GMT
A powerful exercise in collectivity, co-directed by filmmaker Éric Baudelaire alongside a class of 20 middle schoolers.

Monday 7 December, 7pm GMT
New York-based director and photographer Khalik Allah discusses his photography practice in conversation with Shanida Scotland of The Guardian.

Tuesday 8 December, 6:30pm GMT
Javier Fernández Vázquez’s solo debut feature interrogates the complex relationship between Spain and Equatorial Guinea, its former colony.

Wednesday 9 December, 6:30pm GMT
A man returns to his Galician home to unearth hidden stories of post-Franco Spain in Eloy Enciso’s powerful feature.

Thursday 10 December, 7pm GMT
The daily routine of a lonely nightwatchman becomes a prism through which Ivan Marković and Wu Linfeng explore Beijing.

Friday 11 December, 6:20pm GMT
Zheng Lu Xinyuan mixes reality, fiction and experimental reveries into a powerful reflection on love and impermanence.

Saturday 12 December, 6:30pm GMT
Striking new works from Europe and Latin America feature in the second selection of short films in FRAMES of REPRESENTATION.

Sunday 13 December, 6pm GMT
Angolan filmmaker Fradique expands the possibilities of the cinema of the real with his journey into the heart of Luanda.