At the core of filmmaking is an observational eye, one that enquires and seeks to find out more about us. In its more formal incarnation it is the study of us and has produced a whole genre of anthropological filmmaking.
The most recent examples of this are being premiered at the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival here in Bristol from Tue 16 - Fri 19 June. In partnership with the Festival we are screening three films which demonstrate the diversity and impact of an anthropological approach to filmmaking: there's Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence (Fri 12 June for at least two weeks), the follow up to his shocking study of participants in the 1965/66 slaughter of communists in Indonesia, Richard Linklater's Boyhood (Wed 17 June at 17:40), a 12 year-in-the-making chronicle of a young boy that blurs the boundary between fact and fiction and this, Wim Wenders' study of great Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, whose images capture the epic struggle for humanity.
For the past forty years, Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado has travelled through the continents in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity, documenting some of the most horrific and catastrophic events on our planet - famine, disease, deprivation, war and genocide - as well as the stunning enduring, courage and nobility of those who face it. He is one of the most recognisable names in photojournalism (it was him who took the iconic panoramic shot of 50,000 men working without machines in an enormous gold mining pit), and his photographs are harrowing, beautiful and awe-inspiring.
This documentary (co-directed by Wim Wenders and Salgado's son Juliano) is a look back at his life's work, as Salgado shares the stories behind his pictures, as well as a look at his current project focusing on the planet's beauty. Be transported on a stunning visual odyssey - see the world through the eyes of one of the greatest image-makers of the last century.
- Dr Angela Piccini, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol, will introduce the screening and and host an informal discussion on the film in the Café/Bar onwards.
Open to everyone, the RAI Film Festival showcases more than 70 award-winning films from around the world made by ethnographic filmmakers, including Kim Longinotto, David MacDougall, and Phil Agland. Ethnography, put simply, is the study of human cultures through a long-term immersion in the lives of others. The ethnographic filmmakers featured here have produced thought-provoking films on topics as diverse as life after genocide in Rwanda, the struggle of artists in Kashmir, the art of mud-building masons in Mali, to the experiences of a young dance troupe in a South African slum. Tickets can be reserved (Day pass or Festival Pass) through the festival’s website.