In an industry consumed by the latest hot take on each film release or celebrity accolade, what is the place and potential for new writing about the almost 130 years of filmmaking that came before?
Author, critic and film historian Pamela Hutchinson will explore the role of film critics in rethinking and reframing film heritage and the importance of looking back to understand and explore what’s happening in film culture right now. With an increasing number of distributors, cinemas, festivals and online platforms dedicated to repertory and archive films, there are plenty of opportunities for more and diverse film writers and critics to offer their perspectives, none more perfectly placed than Pamela.
Philip French was Britain’s foremost film critic – well-informed, widely-read, with a deep understanding of the practicalities of filmmaking and a taste for elaborate puns – and legions of readers of his regular reviews in the Observer and essays in Sight and Sound were devoted to his work. French was educated at Bristol Grammar School, and his first job as a professional journalist was on the Bristol Evening Post. Bristol was important to him in developing his love for and knowledge about cinema and Bristol Ideas and Watershed are delighted to be organising and hosting this annual lecture devoted to his memory.
This special event, the 5th Philip French lecture, is hosted by critic, writer and improvisor Tara Judah and presented in partnership with Bristol Ideas and the Observer.
Pamela Hutchinson is a freelance writer, critic and film historian who contributes regularly to Sight & Sound, the Guardian, Empire, Criterion, Indicator and the BBC, specialising in silent and classic cinema and women in film. She has written essays for several edited collections and her publications include the BFI Film Classic on Pandora's Box and 30-Second Cinema (Ivy Press). She is a guest lecturer at the National Film and Television School, and a member of both Fipresci and the London Film Critics' Circle. She also writes the silent cinema website Silent London.