Conversations about Cinema
Photo of Mark Cosgrove, Watershed Cinema Curator, Tara Judah, Watershed Cinema Producer. Photo by Jon Aitken.

Conversations about Cinema

Conversations about Cinema is ongoing

We think cinema is the start of a conversation. Talking to you at our Box Office, in the café/bar, before and after the films, online on social media, and reading your comments on our noticeboard deeply enriches the way we all understand the films we’re watching.

Sometimes we have more to say than 140 characters allows. Often, we have special events that produce rich and engaging conversations and because cinema-going is a shared experience, we want to share those insights as far and wide as we possibly can.

This space is for some of those thoughts and provocations to appear. It’s where we can deep dive into a film and really get to grips with its form, aesthetics and wider themes.

We also know that we show a lot of films and, without the right context, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start.

So, let’s start here, with a conversation about cinema. We can continue it at the Box Office, in the café/bar, online and on the noticeboard. Join the conversation and let us know about your cine-thoughts too.

Explore Conversations about Cinema

 'We applied to be hosts': Refugees at Home 

A Season in France
Posted on Mon 10 June 2019 by Frances Cox
Ahead of our run of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's A Season in France and one-off screening of Sharon Walia's The Movement, as part of Bristol Refugee Week (June 17 - 23), we spoke with Frances Cox, who shares details of her experience as a host for Refugees at Home.

 Where art and identity intersect in We the Animals 

We the Animals
Posted on Wed 5 June 2019 by Julia Ray
Julia Ray, on placement this year at Watershed through UWE's MA in Curation, reflects on the beautiful imagery and animation in We the Animals. Recognising young Jonah's journey into adolescence as a key moment to unleash individual creativity, Julia revisits her own experiences, at the intersection of art and individuality.

 Diversity & Drama: Cannes 2019 

Mati Diop Cannes 2019
Posted on Sun 2 June 2019 by Mark Cosgrove
Fresh from the Cannes Film Festival, Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove reflects on the best and most anticipated titles he saw. From almost thirty films, Mark says this was the year when Cannes successfully put film back in the cinema, and vice versa.

 Introducing 'Fiction Documentary': power play in My Friend the Polish Girl 

My Friend the Polish Girl
Posted on Tue 28 May 2019 by Tara Judah
Bending the boundaries of genre far beyond their limits, filmmakers Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek have coined a new term for their unique feature debut, My Friend the Polish Girl. The 'Fiction Documentary', as they call it, questions both modes of filmmaking, asking us to think about the ethics and power dynamics at play every time a camera is picked up and aimed at an individual.

 Tribute to Aretha Franklin: A Natural Legend 

Amazing Grace
Posted on Thu 9 May 2019 by Roger Griffith
Aretha Franklin will always remain the Queen of Soul, but her voice, work and accomplishments stretch beyond music, author, broadcaster and Executive Chair at Ujima Radio, Roger Griffith, writes.

 Eighth Grade: honesty, anxiety and the Internet 

Eighth Grade
Posted on Wed 24 April 2019 by Julia Ray
Eighth Grade is a frank look at the anxieties of a twenty-nine-year-old male comedian, through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old girl. It might sound odd but, Julia Ray writes, it works more perfectly than you’d think.

 Rafiki: a politically charged love story 

Posted on Thu 18 April 2019 by Julia Ray
Following international outcry, surrounding its ban by the Kenya Film Classification Board for violating anti-LGBT+ laws, Rafiki is fast becoming one of the most talked about LGBT+ films of the last five years. Following the journey of tom-boyish Kena and the vibrant and impulsive Ziki, young love and friendship bloom in a politically charged neighbourhood of Nairobi. 

 Letter to Koreeda 

Our Little Sister
Posted on Wed 10 April 2019 by Tara Judah
Hirokazu Koreeda's films have taken up so much real estate in my heart that I wondered what I might say if I wrote a letter to the great filmmaker.

 Projections: an invitation to abandon expectations and explore new worlds 

Big Talk
Posted on Fri 5 April 2019 by Tara Judah
'Projections' is a collection of stunning short artists' moving image film commissions touring UK cinemas this Spring, and Watershed are thrilled to be showing all four. Each one has been matched to a feature film in our programme and will whisk you away to unusual and otherworldly places, offering visual and aural interventions of a super sensory kind..

 Beyond the Blockbuster: John Williams' Film Scores 

John Williams
Posted on Thu 4 April 2019 by Sean Wilson
John Williams is well known for his signature Hollywood scores of Hollywood blockbusters, but there's so much more to his musical career in film. An epic talent across many genres, Williams' lesser known body of work is well worth discovery, writes film critic Sean Wilson

 Looking back at Carol Morley's Out of Blue 

Out of Blue
Posted on Wed 3 April 2019 by Tara Judah
Carol Morley is a singular British talent whose latest feature film, Out of Blue, reveals a mystery so compelling it spans her entire career. Morley, who is a Cinema Detective of sorts, searches for a new way of looking that might just change the way we understand our own gaze.

 Simon Amstell on Benjamin: "The feelings are real" 

Posted on Mon 18 March 2019 by Tara Judah
Following a special preview screening of Benjamin, Simon Amstell joined writer and comedian Ellen Waddell on stage at Watershed for a Q&A that had the entire audience in stitches. Examining everything from his process to his deepest fears and how he travelled to Bristol from London (by train), Amstell was earnest and endearing, just like the characters he's brought to life onscreen, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 Getting to know Teddy Pendergrass: Part 2 

Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me
Posted on Mon 25 Feb 2019 by Tara Judah
When you think of soul music, the dulcet tones of Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Barry White spring to mind, but what about Teddy P?Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me charts the rise of a should-have-been super star. Cinema Producer Tara Judah talks to radio presenter and promoter DJ Style about one of the world's lesser known first class soul singers.

 Getting to know Teddy Pendergrass: Part 1 

Teddy Pendergrass
Posted on Tue 19 Feb 2019 by Tara Judah
Countless music docs have taught us that talent alone isn’t enough. To really make it, you have to be a star. But what if all the elements are aligned and destiny has other plans? Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me charts the rise of a true star who ought to be a household name. Cinema Producer Tara Judah talks to writer, historian and soul music fan Edson Burton about one of the world's lesser known, but quietly loved soul singers.

 Feel IFFR - Highlights from this year's International Film Festival Rotterdam 

IFFR Tiger
Posted on Thu 14 Feb 2019 by Tara Judah
This year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) asked its audience to feel their way through its impressive 400+ programme of films. Feeling everything from vulnerable to strong, frightened to empowered, excited, anxious and occasionally confused, Cinema Producer Tara Judah reflects on this year’s festival, and highlights a few films we can expect to see at Watershed in the coming months.

 The conversation continues with Capernaum 

Posted on Mon 11 Feb 2019 by Tara Judah
From Peace Activist Bjørn Ilher speaking out about Erik Poppe's Utøya last year, to our most recent discussion on American politics and the legacy of the War on Terror following Adam McKay's Vice, the conversation is really ramping up, and it's about to get even more intense as Capernaum comes to Watershed, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 The Island of Hungry Ghosts and Australian "compassion fatigue" 

Island of the Hungry Ghosts
Posted on Wed 9 Jan 2019 by Tara Judah
Already exasperated by successive Australian governments and their refusal to treat refugees as human beings, Australian Cinema Producer Tara Judah explains why she was moved but not shocked by this poetic and emotionally charged documentary.

 2018 on screen: celebrating, supporting, revising and exploring 

Posted on Thu 13 Dec 2018 by Tara Judah
As 2018 draws to a close, we cast our eye back over the year that was; from celebrating women in cinema and workers' rights, to reclaiming the canon, revising generic tropes and exploring the liminal spaces between fiction and reality. It's been a powerful year in film, and one worth remembering, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 Discussing Disobedience: agency, resistance and reclaiming the self 

Posted on Tue 27 Nov 2018 by Tara Judah
A careful and considered study of ritual and religion, Sebastian Lelio's Disobedience was this year's most personally affecting film for Cinema Producer Tara Judah.

 Against the Odds: building Palestine's film industry under occupation 

The Reports on Sarah and Saleem
Posted on Thu 22 Nov 2018 by Aphra Evans
Modern-day Palestine is scarcely a place where you would expect to find a burgeoning film industry and yet, somehow, despite the occupation, politics, and resulting lack of resources, Palestinian film is blossoming, journalist and filmmaker Aphra Evans writes.

 The lost credit of Margarethe von Trotta 

The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
Posted on Tue 30 Oct 2018 by Tara Judah
Margarethe von Trotta was one of the key figures of the New German Cinema movement, and yet she has constantly been overlooked by the cinematic history books. With four stunning new restorations of her most remarkable films back on the big screen, it's time to celebrate - and credit - this talented and strikingly political filmmaker, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 Touch Me Not: fusing forms and breaking borders 

Touch Me Not
Posted on Tue 23 Oct 2018 by Tara Judah
Winner of the Berlinale Golden Bear, Adina Pintilie's Touch Me Not is a unique fusion of fiction and reality, breaking down borders and opening up bodies on screen, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 Something wicked this way comes! Reclaiming the witch on screen 

Glinda the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz
Posted on Thu 4 Oct 2018 by Thea Berry
Once banished to woods, caves and deserted islands, witches have made a comeback to mainstream popular culture. Thea Berry, UWE's MA Curating student based at Watershed this year, has curated a wicked season of films exploring and reclaiming the role of the witch in film.

 Film Culture in the era of Netflix 

My Beautiful Laundrette
Posted on Wed 26 Sept 2018 by Mark Cosgrove
In this Netflix dominated era, with more films bypassing cinema releases to go straight to streaming on demand, are we in danger of missing opportunities to promote, profile and discover the next generation of great films and filmmakers? What is the role of cinemas like ours in championing film culture? Mark Cosgrove, Watershed’s Cinema Curator, reflects on the changing nature of film exhibition and the value of cinema.

 Conversations About Cinema: A new series of in-cinema discussions 

Posted on Wed 12 Sept 2018
Starting in October with Utøya, UWE and Watershed are partnering on a series of screenings and discussions that brings together a multi-disciplinary team of philosophers, political theorists, and cinema curators and producers to unpick some of the most exciting and challenging ideas in contemporary cinema, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at UWE, Francesco Tava writes.

 Matangi, Maya or M.I.A. - just who is this problematic pop star? 

Posted on Wed 12 Sept 2018 by Tara Judah
Everyone wants to know who's behind star persona M.I.A., and if there's more than meets the eye to the outspoken Sri Lankan born, London raised refugee bringing politics to pop music. Candid, confident and clever, Matangi "Maya" Arulpragasam speaks, sings and raps from the heart, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 Of shimmering twilight on the horizon: where fiction and reality meet in The Rider 

The Rider
Posted on Fri 7 Sept 2018 by Tara Judah
Horse trainer Brady Jandreau gives the performance of a lifetime, against the blinding twilight of a South Dakotan horizon, where fiction and reality meet in The Rider, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 "That's the Thing About Memory": Unreliable Narrators in Bart Layton's American Animals 

American Animals
Posted on Wed 5 Sept 2018 by Tara Judah
Talking to writer-director Bart Layton about his hybrid beast of a movie, American Animals, offered fascinating insight into his thrilling heist hybrid, told by a pack of unreliable narrators, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 What's fair in love and Cold War? 

Cold War
Posted on Tue 28 Aug 2018 by Tara Judah
Where love and war are concerned, it's all just shades of grey. Paweł Pawlikowski's Cold War romance hits the big screen with striking polemic and a full palette of black and white, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 The Riddles of Film History in 360 degrees 

Riddles of the Sphinx
Posted on Mon 20 Aug 2018 by Tara Judah
Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen's Riddles of the Sphinx showed us a 360 degree alternative view to the so-called 'male gaze' of mainstream cinema. Revealing a riddle of hetero-patriarchal film history, our Summer of rediscovery with restorations from amazing women filmmakers paves the way for an Autumnal change, Cinema Producer Tara Judah writes.

 Spike Lee and the Klansman 

Spike Lee
Posted on Sun 5 Aug 2018 by Edson Burton
Spike Lee is a political artist, and one with a particular comic sensibility. Artists may not be able to resolve social issues, but Lee's satire is responsible, Come the Revolution's Edson Burton writes.

August 2018 Cinema Podcast

August 2018 Cinema Podcast
August brings an embarrassment of cinematic riches gathered together under the broad headline of seriously playful, or indeed playfully serious, filmmaking.

 Enter the Dragon: Celebrating Bruce Lee 

Enter the Dragon
Posted on Mon 25 June 2018
Forty-five years since the death of Bruce Lee, author of the forthcoming book Born to be Bad: Talking to the greatest villains in action cinema, Timon Singh, reflects on the life and legacy of one of cinema and martial arts' greatest warriors.

 André Bazin: Reflections from the video shop 

20th Century Flicks Video Shop
Posted on Sun 17 June 2018
We asked David Taylor and Daisy Steinhardt from 20th Century Flicks video shop to share short reflections on the words of cinephile and activist André Bazin, ahead of their illustrated talk during Cinema Rediscovered.

 Why is a fish a car? Learning to love Zama 

Posted on Tue 29 May 2018 by Tara Judah
"Beautifully short but bizarre..." Our comments board gets Cinema Producer Tara Judah thinking about the beguiling beauty of new release Zama and how it led to loving the work of Lucrecia Martel.

 Whose responsibility? On Coralie Fargeat's Revenge 

Posted on Thu 17 May 2018 by Tara Judah
Tara Judah, Watershed Cinema Producer, reflects on a Q&A she hosted with film academic and author, Dr Tanya Horeck, after a screening of Coralie Fargeat’s debut feature film Revenge, on Sat 12 May. The pair and the audience discussed the interplay of morality and ethics in visual representations of violence and lots more.

 On Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled and its whitewashing controversy 

Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst in The Beguiled
Posted on Wed 19 July 2017 by Mark Cosgrove
A reflection on Sofia Coppola's film The Beguiled in the wake of its whitewashing controversy. Mark asks – after the arguments raised – is it appropriate to rethink my initial reaction to the film?