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Birkbeck’s Derek Jarman Lab screens excerpts from its feature film at the BFI alongside discussion with Tilda Swinton

The screening forms part of the British Film Institute’s Tilda Swinton film season, celebrating Swinton’s distinguished career.

BFI screening
From left to right: Tilda Swinton, Lily Ford, Bartek Dziadosz

The British Film Institute (BFI) recently screened film excerpts from a cinematic project produced by Birkbeck’s Derek Jarman Lab, entitled The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger. Alongside the screening, discussions were held on the legacy of the intellectual and storyteller John Berger, by film collaborators Tilda Swinton; Derek Jarman Lab’s director, Bartek Dziadosz; and head of production, Lily Ford.

The feature film, released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland in 2017, was the result of a five-year project by filmmakers Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe and Christopher Roth to produce a portrait of Berger’s life. The four essay films, combined to comprise The Seasons in Quincy, each take different aspects of Berger’s life in the tiny Alpine village of Quincy, and combine ideas and motifs from Berger’s own work with the atmosphere of his mountain home.

The screening comes after Tilda Swinton received one of British film’s highest honours - a BFI fellowship - on 2 March 2020.

Bartek Dziadosz commented:

The Seasons in Quincy was the Derek Jarman Lab’s first feature documentary and it is now distributed worldwide. This special screening of two of the four portraits highlights Tilda’s friendship and collaboration with John Berger, a seminal writer who truly revolutionised art criticism.”

The Derek Jarman Lab, an audio-visual hub for graduate filmmaking based at Birkbeck, offers a short course, ‘Audio-Visual Practice as Research’, which covers basic technical filmmaking competencies as well as some conceptual approaches to incorporating film into academic practice. The course is open to all, and no previous knowledge of filmmaking is necessary. It takes place on a termly basis, with the next course being held in June.

Stephen Hills, a student who recently completed the course, commented:

“Through a montage of practical instruction, theoretical insights, and passion for cinema, the (Derek) Jarman Lab's Audio-Visual Practice as Research course gave me everything I needed to start making my own essay films.”

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