VHS Diaries (2020) – Harriet Crisp

Niyaz Saghari’s 2020 documentary, VHS Diaries, is the tale of a defiant cinephile subculture that pursued their passion for cinema despite strict government restrictions and the threat of imprisonment in post-revolution Iran. Saghari collates diaries she wrote during the era of video censorship and her personal VHS film archive, alongside interviews with film historians, enthusiasts […]

A Colombian Family (2020) – Harriet Crisp

A Colombian Family (Tanja Wol Sørensen, 2020) charts the difficult relationship of Yira and her politically-active mother Ruby against the backdrop of the conflict between the FARC rebel movement and the government in Colombia. Ruby is faced with a tough dilemma as Yira pleads with her to leave Colombia, a decision which would mean abandoning […]

The Two Lives of Li Ermao (2019) – Lucy James

For my first solo interview it was fair to say that I was extraordinarily nervous, not wanting to create an awkward atmosphere or say the wrong thing, but the second Kiki Yu popped up on my zoom screen, those nerves flushed away. Her kind presence instantly put me at ease, and to know how deeply […]

Elder’s Corner (2020) – Matt Langley

Elder’s Corner (2020) follows the mission of British Nigerian musician and filmmaker Siji Awoyinka as he seeks to regain the lost voices of his rich musical heritage. Charting the movements of High Life music during colonial rule, and the nationalistic push for independence to joyous Juju and the pioneering of Afrobeat, Awoyinka reflects the country’s […]

Suspension (2019) – Matt Langley

Suspension (2019) charts a journey of human folly in the face of an unrelenting natural world and an unreliable government. It follows the conception and attempted construction of the Mocoa – San Francisco Bypass from 1991 to the project’s indefinite suspension in 2017. Director Simón Uribe Martínez tells the stories of the local people affected […]

A Palimpsest of the Africa Museum (2019) – Harriet Crisp

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a palimpsest as “a manuscript in which a later writing is written over an effaced earlier writing”. In Matthias De Groof’s sharp and subtle 2019 documentary, Palimpsest of the Africa Museum, the museum is manuscript and the earlier writing its colonial narrative.  The subject of the film is the Royal […]

Lula Wattam on Half Elf (2020)

The film Half Elf (2020) is a piece of cinematic genius, managing to negotiate between lighthearted sweetness and the intense processes of ageing. It sucks us into the raw landscape, chilling us with the brutal waves and craggy rocks, bleak yet hauntingly stunning depictions of the Icelandic town. These aesthetic triumphs make the warmth of […]

Hengdian Dreams (2020): Living on Dreams Alone

Yijie Zou (Anthropology – College of William & Mary) Yijie Zou reviews director Shayan Momin’s short work, Hengdian Dreams, streaming in our NYU Culture & Media Program at 30 Years sessions. Hengdian Dreaming attends to rural migrant workers who live in Hengdian, Zhejiang, China, the world’s biggest movie studio city. Multiple forms of media-related work […]

John Melville Bishop

John Melville Bishop is a documentary filmmaker known for the breadth of his collaborations, primarily in the fields of anthropology and folklore. He has worked with Alan Lomax, John Marshall, and extensively with the Smithsonian Institution and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. From 1995 to 2008, Bishop taught courses in video […]

Christopher Davis

Christopher Davis is an anthropologist recently retired after many years teaching, first at the University of Michigan and then at SOAS. Her formative research was among the Tabwa living along Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has been the foundation for her perspectives on and teaching of both general and medical […]