Proximity on Film: intimate experiments in closeness and distance

A film salon presented in collaboration with BIMI BCCT, BIH and BIRMAC, programmed by Ricardo Matos Cabo

On the occasion of Conventions of Proximity in Art, Theatre and Performance symposium 5-6 May, Birkbeck, School of Arts

Birkbeck Cinema – 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

This event is free but booking is required

Screening 1 |  Friday 6 May 2016 | 11:30 to 13:00

Messages by Guy Sherwin (1981-84) 16mm, black and white, silent, 36 minutes.

Red Shift by Gunvor Nelson (1984) 16mm, black and white, sound, 50 minutes.

Free but booking is required 

Screening 2 | Friday 6 May 2016| 14:30 to 15:30

Stephen Dwoskin, Shadows from Light. The Photography of Bill Brandt (1983) 16mm (transferred to Blu Ray), black and white, sound, 59 minutes.

Free but booking required

About the films | 

Guy Sherwin, Messages (1981-84):

Made over a period of three years, the filmmaker assembles an open-ended filmic notebook of observations translating into images and silence his young daughter’s questions about the physical and social world surrounding her. The film draws on the filmmaker’s readings of Jean Piaget’s 1929 seminal work The Child’s Concept of the World, inviting us to think about film’s potential and limitations to grasp what is visible through a series of visual associations and plays on perception and language.

Print courtesy of LUX artist’s moving image

Gunvor Nelson, Red Shift (1984):

Subtitled “All Expectation”, Red Shift is described by Nelson as “a film in black and white, about relationships, generations and time”. A personal look at three generations of women in her own family, Red Shift is an investigation on the nature of relationships, on what brings people closer to, or makes people further away from each other. To complete this portrait and in order to bring a different temporality to the film, the filmmaker added a voice-over reading of the letters of Calamity Jane to her estranged daughter on the subject of motherhood and sorrow. All this is rendered as an intimate narrative of distances, a variation of scales and surfaces, looking at the world in close-up to better grasp the intricate, shifting and yet immutable nature of relationships.

Print courtesy of FilmForm

Stephen Dwoskin, Shadows from Light. The Photography of Bill Brandt (1983):

‘Born in 1904, Brandt was a shy and enigmatic man who dominated British photography for decades. His early studies of class-divided Britain were followed by the postwar series of “distorted nudes”, shot on beaches and inside rooms. The film is a fitting final portrait of Brandt (it was completed in the year he died), and recomposes his work in cinematic terms. The camera moves through an apartment where the pictures were taken, to reveal photographs scattered. These are panned to show the surrounding space, the angle of vision and a model who reconstructs Brandt’s original image. Dwoskin emphasises visual atmosphere through the language of the eye.’ Al Rees, Leaflet on Steve Dwoskin for Channel 4 & BFI Education, 1983.

Print courtesy of BFI