At its heart, this is a film about risk. It is about what we stand to lose in the course of a colossal social transformation reflected in the way our cities are being re-designed. A stroll in central London will show you what this transformation entails. Developers and politicians are building a new skyline, and with it, bearing a new standard of living costs. While recognising that change is inevitable, this film asks: what do we risk losing as this transformation unfolds?
In asking this question, a portrait is painted of a market in Tottenham, north London, called the Seven Sisters Indoor Market. On face value, it is a fairly common market, with numerous and diverse businesses sit side-by-side vying for custom. Looking more closely, it’s evident that it also doubles as an informal cultural centre for immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere. This, too, is common enough among various parts of London and cities like it.
Upon closer reflection, however – and it is this reflection that the film attempts – a brilliance emerges. It is a brilliance in which public and private, social and commercial, native and foreign, are merged into a social attitude of inclusiveness - an example of humanity exceptionally embedded into urban space. It is a market imbued with a ‘living room’ feeling made up of informality and spontaneous cosmopolitanism. Imagine trying to cross a corridor amid multilingual chatter, and being blocked by a child practicing karate.
This portrait is painted using hybrid film language that borrows from documentary and fiction styles, as well as ethnographic modes of representation. At times, past and present are merged in the course of invoking personal stories of migration. At other times, static shots allow stories to unfold before the camera, resulting in a language as spontaneous as the spirit of the market itself.
The story of the Seven Sisters Indoor Market is a reminder of what is possible in a city, as well of what we risk losing through the systematic dismantling of the conditions that keep it open.
This emergent conflict is not passive – in this particular site, you may join the members of the Ward’s Corner Community Coalition in their struggle to preserve the market. The first step towards organised resistance, however, is a reflection triggered.
It’s this reflection on risk that this documentary offers.
New Town Utopia is a documentary feature film that explores the original utopian dreams of a post-war British New Town – Basildon, Essex - and compares this to the modern concrete reality. We're close to finishing production, and after four years of serious hard work, have hundreds of hours of footage ready to be crafted into a poetic, challenging film.
It is a meditation on British social history that asks the question: do people make the place… or does a place make the people?
"Geografía y cine” compiles a varied series of works produced by a group of researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, interested in the study of relations between the geographical and filmic space. Particular attention is given, on the one hand, to the way the film uses the geographical space as support for shooting locations and, secondly, to the subsequent dissemination of images from the exhibition of films. That is why mapping these filming locations is an essential step for any analytical study. A task that this group of researchers is carrying out in recent years and that, in the case of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, is displayed through an interactive map called MadridMovieMap.
New book:International Politics and Film: Space, Vision, Power, Sean Carter and Klaus Dodds International Politics and Film introduces readers to the representational qualities of film but also draws attention to how the relationship between the visual and the spatial is constitutive of international politics. Using four themes – borders, the state of exception, homeland and distant others – the territorial and imaginative dimensions of international affairs in particular are highlighted. But this volume also makes clear that international politics is not just something 'out there'; film helps us better understand how it is also part of everyday life within the state – affecting individuals and communities in different ways depending on axes of difference such as gender, race, class, age, and ethnicity.
the Italian online urban planning magazine, is publishing a series of
links to urbanism-related films, with interesting examples. Most of the
clips are historical, but there are also recent films, that are not freely
visible online, but which seem quite interesting, as“unfinished
Italy”, in which among other things you can see a re-use of an unfinished
There was also a short article on the book launch in the 26 Sept edition of the Echo. This features an embarrassingly contrived photo of myself, Roger Shannon (who organised the event), and the fabulous Liverpool-born actress Rita Tushingham:
Film, Space & PlacePosted by Les Roberts 28 Aug, 2013 14:20:01 The Liverpool edition of Intellect's World Film Locations series has now been published, edited by Jez Conolly and Caroline Whelan. I have a short article in the book called 'The Last of Liverpool: Liminal Journeys Around the Port City', which takes as its main point of departure Derek Jarman's 1987 film 'The Last of England', parts of which were shot in the city: http://www.amazon.co.uk/World-Film-Locations-Jez-Conolly/dp/178320026X