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Honeytrap

Honeytrap

toblackgirls:

The BFI London Film Festival is nearly here! We’ve gone through the programme to find all the films starring women of colour. There are admittedly a lot more than we were expecting including Girlhood, Honeytrap and the much anticipated Dear White People.  

(left to right) 

1. Girlhood 

Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) continues her exploration of the effects of social conventions on delicately forming female identities in her triumphant third film. Sixteen-year-old Marieme (Karidja Touré) must navigate not only the disruptive onset of womanhood, but also the inequalities of being black and living in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris. Excluded from school and in fear of her overbearing brother at home, Marieme escapes into the shielding environment of a girl gang. She renames herself ‘Vic’ for ‘Victory’ and gives up on asking for the things she wants and learns to just take them. Formally meticulous, the film is divided into four distinct segments in which Marieme changes her physical appearance to suit the different worlds she must navigate (school, home, street). Each transformation magnificently captures the heavy burden that visibility and image play in Marieme’s life, whilst Crystel Fournier’s stunning photography that favours a distinctive blue palette ensures that Marieme remains a defiantly vital presence on screen even while it appears she is disappearing from society’s view. The jubilant soundtrack infuses the film with vigour and passion, from the opening juddering electro-goth of Light Asylum’s ‘Dark Allies’ to a full length lip sync to Rhianna’s ‘Diamonds’. With Girlhood Sciamma flawlessly evokes the fragile resilience of youth.

2. My Friend Victoria 

Adapted from a story by Doris Lessing, My Friend Victoria is a complex, poignant portrait of two young black women in contemporary Paris. The film follows them from childhood into adulthood, with the older Fanny narrating the story of her friend and adoptive sister. Aged eight, Victoria spends a night in the home of a wealthy white family; years later, she encounters them again and her life is changed forever. As Fanny and Victoria’s destinies take them in separate directions, the drama offers a distinctly fresh take on racial identity in contemporary France – and on questions of class, privilege and blinkered liberal racism. Superbly acted by newcomers Guslagie Malanda and Nadia Moussa, along with veterans Mouchet and Greggory, My Friend Victoria sees Jean-Paul Civeyrac returning to the LFF after his poetic, elegant Young Girls in Black (2010). His follow-up is an acutely intelligent achievement by a director whose time has surely come.

3. Second Coming 

It’s a bold move to make your debut theatrical feature a modern day take on such a big theological ‘What If?’, and Debbie Tucker Green astonishes with this London-set drama, where the newest family member is neither expected nor biologically possible. Jax (Marshall) works in the welfare office, lives with tube-worker husband (Elba), and their sensitive, nature-loving son JJ who, on the cusp of manhood is constantly looking around him for cues on how to make this transition. It’s rare to see a woman on-screen who remains so taciturn in the face of inner turmoil and as Jax’s self-possession begins to frustrate her friends and family, the film ramps up the tension with Nadine Marshall’s performance creating one of the most unshakable characters in recent memory. Taking the ‘kitchen sink’ tradition of social realism to a fresh new place, it’s a film that lingers, and marks Green as an immediate new voice in British cinema.

4. Honeytrap 

Layla (Jessica Sula) is 15 and has been living in Trinidad. Returned to her estranged mother in Brixton, she is faced with settling into a new home and a new city with a fresh set of rules and codes. Unsupported by her mother and spitefully rejected by her female peers, she is drawn to the brooding Troy, who marks her as his ‘Trini princess’. When that fails, she takes solace in the friendship of Shaun, another admirer, but her desperate need for acceptance leads to a tragic betrayal of his kindness. Director Rebecca Johnson was inspired by real life cases and explores gang culture from a girl’s perspective. Moving beyond the headlines, Johnson gives us an intricately layered and rarely seen perspective – firmly located in the domain of a young girl becoming a woman in a hyper-masculine world. Sula’s performance here is flawless, perfectly capturing the agonising contradiction of Layla’s choice.

5. Appropriate Behaviour 

Shirin breaks up with Maxine, clutching only a strap-on dildo as she storms across Brooklyn. It’s hardly what polite society would deem appropriate behaviour – which is precisely what writer-director-star Desiree Akhavan sets out to challenge in her fearless feature debut. There isn’t an aspect of life that her protagonist, a twentysomething bisexual Iranian-American, can’t overcomplicate and sabotage, be it cultural, professional, sexual or emotional. Veering from desperate bed hopping to disastrous kindergarten moviemaking classes, Akhavan spares herself – and us – nothing of Shirin’s solipsistic neuroses. So it’s all the more impressive that her bracing honesty (‘You can’t keep playing the Persian card’ Maxine scolds) and deft, witty characterisations make for such engaging, empathetic company. The setting, subject and lack of inhibition virtually guarantee Lena Dunham (Girls) comparisons, but Akhavan’s ethnically and sexually specific search for identity onscreen marks out a topography and artistic voice very much her own.

6. Catch Me Daddy 

On the run from her traditional Pakistani family, 17-year-old Laila, along with her boyfriend Aaron, has fled her home for the imposing landscapes of the Yorkshire Moors. As the couple attempt to forge an anonymous existence, unbeknownst to them two groups of men are on their trail, intent on catching up with the young lovers and exacting a brutal punishment at the orders of Laila’s father. Working with famed cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, The Angel’s Share), who captures the vast expanses of the Pennines to stunningly ominous effect, and boasting a devastating central performance by newcomer Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, Daniel and Matthew Wolfe’s hugely impressive debut is a complex and challenging piece of work. In many ways evocative of a British social realist take on John Ford’s The Searchers, with a near-noirish sense of pessimism and bleakness, the film’s observations on family dynamics, race and class are both brutally nihilistic and poetically affecting.

7. August Winds 

The setting of this haunting debut feature from Gabriel Mascaro is a remote village on Brazil’s northeast coast. Shirley (Dandara de Morais), a young woman from the city, has moved there in order to look after her ageing grandmother. She starts dating Jeison (Geová Manoel dos Santos) and gains employment from a local farmer. Filming his actors and the landscape with an unhurried, watchful sensitivity that reflects his documentary background, Mascaro creates an atmospheric portrait of life in this remote community, in particular charting Shirley and Jeison’s heady romance with seductive sensuality. He also introduces a note of disquiet with the arrival of a researcher (played by the director himself) to record the sounds of the changing coastal winds. It also becomes apparent that the village is facing the devastating consequences of global warming. A melancholy and visually sumptuous reflection on a threatened way of life.

8.  Dear White People 

Trouble is brewing at prestigious Ivy League Winchester College. The sole black-only fraternity is to be diversified, to the disgust of firebrand campus DJ Sam White (caustic host of ‘Dear White People’). So when Sam accidentally becomes hall president and word spreads of a rival white college’s ‘African-American-themed party’, she and her fellow black students must reassess where they belong in an alleged ‘post-racial’ Obama nation. Whereas many films that tackle issues reduce their characters to mouthpieces, Justin Simien’s razor-sharp satire makes all his protagonists thrillingly nuanced and conflicted. Visually inventive (the fourth wall regularly takes a pummelling) yet controlled, it’s in the idea stakes that Simien really lets fly, nailing cultural preconceptions of all colours. Early Spike Lee comparisons – notable School Daze and Do The Right Thing – are inevitable and somewhat courted, but Simien passionately makes his own case for provocative, relevant filmmaking: we’ve gotta have it.

9. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night 

In the deadbeat Iranian ghost town of Bad City, a lone female vampire stalks the streets at night searching for prey. One of the town’s residents is Arash, who through a series of events involving his junkie father, a prostitute and a drug-dealing pimp, encounters the enigmatic bloodsucker and an unlikely love story begins to unfold. Plot may well be secondary to the striking visual language of Ana Lily Amirpour’s arresting debut; its deliberately enigmatic narrative allowing for a superbly ambitious exercise in style and atmosphere. With its stark black and white photography, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is in many ways evocative of the works of Jim Jarmusch, although ironically it bears the strongest resemblance to his early masterwork Stranger than Paradise than it does his own recent vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. But while Amirpour’s influences are clear, in her effortless blending of multiple genres and monochromatic evocation of a matriarchal underworld, her voice as a singular and exciting new talent is undeniable. If you only see one Iranian vampire western this year, make sure it’s this one.

10. Difret (TW: Rape) 

An affecting feature debut, Difret details the traumatic experience of an Ethiopian girl accused of killing a man who sexually abused her. On her way back home from school, 14-year-old Hirut (Tizita Hagere) is kidnapped by a gang of men and forced into marrying their leader Tadele. She is beaten and raped but manages to free herself, escaping with the rifle she uses to shoot her abductor. Arrested and charged with murder, local justice requires that Hirut is executed and then buried with her victim. However, on hearing about her case a courageous lawyer (Meron Getnet) decides to defend her – at great risk to her own career. Difret, which means ‘courage’ in Amharic, is a delicate yet impassioned story that offers empowerment and hope to countless women all over the world.

More films (not pictured): Beti and Amare, Self Made, War Book and Labour of Love

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Thursday 18th September. You can see the full listing (and any films we missed) as well as information about how to buy tickets on the BFI London FIlm Festival website

(via blackfilm)

When I was a student, all that was told to me was how much my cultura didn’t matter. How important European art and standards are, and how totally dominant their aesthetic should be. All I wanted to do was tell my story. And I looked nothing like what is considered relevant or beautiful or important by society’s ideals. But I JUST.KEPT.GOING. Here are some of my pieces. I’m here to uplift and change who is in the spotlight. Powerful womyn of color. My indigenous sisters.

When I was a student, all that was told to me was how much my cultura didn’t matter. How important European art and standards are, and how totally dominant their aesthetic should be. All I wanted to do was tell my story. And I looked nothing like what is considered relevant or beautiful or important by society’s ideals. But I JUST.KEPT.GOING. Here are some of my pieces. I’m here to uplift and change who is in the spotlight. Powerful womyn of color. My indigenous sisters.

For the first time ever, the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil will host two separate open calls for submissions: one for artworks and one for art projects. Four lucky artists will be selected to produce their work under the festival’s curators and feature their finished pieces at the 19th edition of the festival, hosted in São Paulo, Brazil in 2015. 

Submissions are open now until 16 November 2014 on the Videobrasil website. Read here for more details: www.bit.ly/1vpKUmp

For the first time ever, the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil will host two separate open calls for submissions: one for artworks and one for art projects. Four lucky artists will be selected to produce their work under the festival’s curators and feature their finished pieces at the 19th edition of the festival, hosted in São Paulo, Brazil in 2015.

Submissions are open now until 16 November 2014 on the Videobrasil website. Read here for more details: www.bit.ly/1vpKUmp

G A Gardner interviewed by Marsha Pearce

Caribbean-born artist GA Gardner will display his work along with Maya Freelon Asante (USA) and Choichun Leung (UK) in the group show entitled Timeless Remnants. The exhibition opens on September 26, 2014 at Morton Fine Art (MFA) in Washington DC. Gardner migrated from his birthplace of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to North America in 1988, where he earned a BA in Visual Arts and an MA from San Francisco State University. He was also awarded a doctoral degree in Art Education from Ohio State University.

Gardner’s contemporary art practice homes in on the colossal machine of mass media and the messages it churns out. He extracts bits of information, dislodging them from specific moments in time to create new narratives; new points of identification and fresh collages of meaning that have personal and collective resonance. In the lead up to the show at MFA, Gardner shares insights into his art, revealing the influence of his life in and travels between the Caribbean and the U.S., his navigation of the terrain of randomness, and his engagement with the territory of patterns. The artist also speaks about the significance of timelessness in his work and his commitment to making Caribbean and African identities audible amid a din of Western communications.

Marsha Pearce: The exhibition Timeless Remnants seems to draw on discourses of psychology, including the work of such thinkers as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Freud posited the idea of “archaic remnants” or an “archaic heritage which a child brings with him [or her] into the world” (1940, p167). Jung also proposed his ideas. In addition to what he saw as a personal unconscious, which serves as a repository of experiences that are unique to each person, Jung asserted the notion of a second psychic system. He called this second system the collective unconscious and described it as that which is inherited. Does your work engage with a universal inheritance that you are deliberately making conscious with your art? If so, what do you see as that inheritance and how do you attend to it in your creative practice?

GA Gardner: I believe that I, like all human beings, am influenced by what has come before me. That might mean the personal structure of my familial ties, as well as the influences of artists before me. I don’t believe that any human being or artist for that matter, can create in a vacuum. I see my inheritance, if you want to call it that, as one that is traced back to my African roots at the primal level and to my Caribbean heritage, most recently. That is overlaid with my experience in the United States, where I have spent most of my adult years. So, I call on all of these influences, this inheritance – this collective unconscious – in my work. I use the rhythms and colours of Africa and the Caribbean to filter the “sounds” and “expressions” of America’s global communication machine.
MP: You seem to be foregrounding a specific collective unconscious; or pinpointing specific groups – African and Caribbean people. I am thinking though, about your attention to a global proliferation of media and messages in your art. Are we perhaps more and more the inheritors of a cacophony of media messages? Do you see that as an inheritance that is largely unconscious and one that goes beyond African and Caribbean “boundaries”?

GAG: Yes, that particularly applies in the 21st century, with the global reach and access of media messages.

MP: I want to return to Jung as a reference point. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is said to be expressed through archetypes or patterns. Can you talk about the role of patterns in your work?

GAG: Patterns are a fundamental component of my work. They often emerge from randomness as information is literally sliced out of context to form a montage of images that carries random conversations. These overall patterns and shapes are replicated from ancient African and modern Caribbean design. Like the Kuba people of central Africa I am interested in the construct of pattern and design. In addition, I find and use contemporary materials and I add a Caribbean colour palette to create art that best symbolizes our current state of being. Though I allow the process to lead, I commit to cultural forms and lines – for example, the geometric foms and lines that are inherent to cultures like that of the Kuba people – as guides for the direction of a piece. This does allow patterns to emerge uninhibited from my work. This is the magic of the creative process – a life, seemingly of its own, that the artistic endeavour engenders.

MP: Your visual amalgams of material remnants seem time consuming. How does the passage of time factor into your work? How might the concept of timelessness enter your visual statements?

GAG: Since my work reinvents and reinterprets material, timelessness is at the center of my creative expression. Once I have disassociated material from its former use and place in time, I allow it to flow free; to be unfettered from the moment it was created, or from any limitations of space or time. The repurposing of these fragments of communication produces an ageless, timeless new identity, which frees my work from temporal boundaries.

MP: You live and work in the Caribbean and the USA. What is it that remains with you as you move between those spaces and how do those remnants of experience in both spaces inform your work?

GAG: My work is conceptual; it represents the struggle for identity that we all face in the midst of globalization – chiefly, the dominance of Western influences and the struggle to be heard amongst all the noise of media. This is apparent in my travels; therefore I am compelled to represent this conflict in my art. I am not one who watches TV nor am I a news junky; I try my best to tune these elements out of my life. The very nature of going between these two countries reinforces the need for the messages in my art. It is born of the fact that we in the Caribbean consume so much foreign media that we are often at a loss for our personal and cultural identity.

I bring the printed content of North America’s vast media machine to the Caribbean and recycle it, extracting its artificial hues, and often add a rich colour palette found naturally in my Caribbean surroundings. This is the synergy I want in my art. I am making a statement that despite the dominance of Western media, Africa and the Caribbean will be heard – at least through the colour palette and patterns in my mixed media art.

The exhibition Timeless Remnants runs from September 26 to October 17, 2014 at Morton Fine Art, Washington, DC, USA.

To learn more about GA Gardner and his visual arts practice, visit his website.

- See more at: http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2014/09/audible-fragments-amid-the-noise-an-interview-with-ga-gardner/#sthash.1Q8TgU71.dpuf

missfolly:

West Indian Creole Woman With Her Black Servant — Agostino Brunias, ca 1780

missfolly:

West Indian Creole Woman With Her Black Servant — Agostino Brunias, ca 1780

briannamccarthy:

things i forgot i made.
paper collage/paper queen 2012
im kinda excited to have reconnected with her… remixes coming i think ☆

briannamccarthy:

things i forgot i made.
paper collage/paper queen 2012
im kinda excited to have reconnected with her… remixes coming i think ☆

Miami-based filmmaker Jonathan David Kane debuts his documentary set in Haiti, titled ‘Papa Machete’. The film explores the obscure martial art of tire machét- Haitian machete fencing- and lends the spotlight to a struggling Haitian farmer who has mastered the art, Alfred Avril. 

'Papa Machete' premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on 6th September 2014, making it the first time the prestigious festival featured films out of Canada. Kane's documentary is one of only six U.S. productions to be featured at #TIFF, and the only short film set in the Caribbean.

Miami-based filmmaker Jonathan David Kane debuts his documentary set in Haiti, titled ‘Papa Machete’. The film explores the obscure martial art of tire machét- Haitian machete fencing- and lends the spotlight to a struggling Haitian farmer who has mastered the art, Alfred Avril.

'Papa Machete' premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on 6th September 2014, making it the first time the prestigious festival featured films out of Canada. Kane's documentary is one of only six U.S. productions to be featured at #TIFF, and the only short film set in the Caribbean.