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Black Audio Film Collective
1989, UK, 52 min

Tender letters between a recent UK arrival and her mother back in Dominica, juxtaposed with choice archival footage and personal recollections from Homi Bhabha, Paul Gilroy and Gail Lewis, ground the viewer in lived experience. The Black Audio Film Collective’s strategies expose the social and political changes that took place in London under Thatcherism. Also, Sam Selvon reads from his 1956 novel about post-war West Indian migrant experience, The Lonely Londoners.

Plays with:
Three Songs on Pain, Time and Light
Black Audio Film Collective, 1995, UK, 25 min
The life and work of Black British artist, Donald Rodney (1961-1998), who suffered from Sickle Cell Anaemia. The video uses a mixture of home movies, studio and location based tableaux, interviews and testimonies to examine how he uses his art to come to terms with constant pain.


Inaugurated in 1982 and dissolved in 1998, the seven-person Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC) is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential artist groups to emerge from Britain in recent years. John Akomfrah, Lina Gopaul, Avril Johnson, Reece Auguiste, Trevor Mathison, David Lawson and Edward George produced award winning film, photography, slide tape, video, installation, posters and interventions, much of which has never been exhibited in Britain.

Their first film Handsworth Songs won seven international awards in 1987; their second film Testament premiered at the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes International Film Festival in 1988; these and subsequent works such as Twilight City (1989) and The Last Angel of History (1995) staked a claim for a new kind of moving image work that was resolutely experimental and confidently internationalist.

This February, the Dave Barber Cinematheque presents five essential and radical works by the Black Audio Film Collective that encapsulate community, politics and protest, including Handsworth Songs (1986), Twilight City (1989), Who Needs a Heart (1991), Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993) and Three Songs on Pain, Time and Light (1995).

Generously sponsored by IATSE 856 Manitoba.

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