bell hooks: Reel to Real

bell hooks: Reel to Real

Cinema Rediscovered 2022

Season

Please note: this season finished in July 2022

“Movies make magic. They change things. They take the real and make it into something else right before our very eyes.” bell hooks (Reel to Real: Race, sex and class at the movies)

Films make us feel, they make us think. This is at the heart of bell hooks’ inspired, radical and incisive writing about films; making us reflect on the subversive role that films can play but also the power of cinema in maintaining the status quo.

Recognised globally as a feminist theorist and activist, cultural critic, public intellectual and educator, Gloria Jean Watkins aka bell hooks (1952 – 2021) would have been 70 this year.

Her expansive body of work is of course much broader than films, encompassing everything from literary and art criticism, children’s fiction, self-healing, poetry, tackling topics such as feminism, racism, capitalism, intersectionality, gender roles, love, and spirituality.

Inspired by her trailblazing collection of essays and interviews Reel to Real, we revisit some of the films and makers featured, focusing on the image makers that moved and provoked her; from Charles Burnett, Julie Dash and Spike Lee to Isaac Julien and Trinh T. Minh-ha. Her writing and conversations, like the best films of our time, provoke thought and create a context for dialogue. In that spirit, we will also explore the ebb and the flow that surrounded bell hooks’ encounters with filmmakers and thinkers across both sides of the Atlantic.


Previous screenings in this season

Finding Christa

classified 15 bell hooks
Finding Christa
Please note: This was screened in July 2022
Film
A moving, yet unsentimental, view of motherhood that challenges social biases about adoption and offers new insight into mother-daughter relationships.

Girl 6

classified 18 bell hooks
Girl 6
Please note: This was screened in July 2022
Film
An unnamed, aspiring actress's quest for new work lands her in the warm, supportive embrace of a women-run phone sex agency in Spike Lee's overlooked comedy.

Killer of Sheep + Short: The Horse

classified 15 bell hooks
Killer of Sheep + Short: The Horse
Please note: This was screened in July 2022
Film
Charles Burnett's tender, witty and affectionate tale of a disillusioned slaughterhouse worker, and the solace to be found in the simplest moments of life.

Reel To Real Shorts

classified 15 bell hooks
Reel To Real Shorts
Please note: This was screened in July 2022
Film
Curator Karen Alexander presents a trio of shorts that resonate with bell hooks's seminal classic collection of essays on film, Reel To Real: Race, Class and Sex at the Movies.