In the presence of and in conversation with director Patrick Keiller.
I had embarked on landscape film-making in 1981, early in the Thatcher era, after encountering a surrealist tradition in the UK and elsewhere, so that cinematography involved the pursuit of a transformation, radical or otherwise, of everyday reality. (...) I had forgotten that landscape photography is often motivated by utopian or ideological imperatives, both as a critique of the world, and to demonstrate the possibility of creating a better one.
What is the 'problem of England'? In the aftermath of the Brexit and the ensuing rise of English nationalism this question might be lingering in the minds of many, but already two decades ago it was raised by a fictional character named Robinson in what became a trilogy of films examining the economic and cultural doldrums of neoliberal England.
The first film in the trilogy, London (1994), tracks the wanderings of the eponymous character Robinson and his narrating companion through Britain’s capital at a time when the city was marked by a series of IRA bombings and the Tory party was surprisingly re-elected for the fourth consecutive time. The film follows the pair as they engage in exercises of psychic landscaping and free association, in an attempt to wrestle themselves free from the constraining patterns of a city.
Together with Robinson in Space (1997) and Robinson in Ruins (2010), the films are seen as a critique of the United Kingdom's economic landscape under the Conservative governments of 1979-97.
The screening is organised by STUK and Courtisane, in collaboration with the Lieven Gevaert Centre and the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven) in the series MOVING IMAGE – FOCUS and is part of DISSENT!, an initiative of Courtisane, Auguste Orts and Argos, in the framework of the research project “Figures of Dissent” (KASK/Hogent), with support of VG.
On 2 March 20:00 Patrick Keiller will also be present at Bozar in Brussels to present and discuss The End (1986, 18’) and Robinson in Space (1997, 82’).
(°1950, Blackpool, UK)
Patrick Keiller is a British filmmaker, writer and lecturer. He studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London and joined the Royal College of Art's Department of Environmental Media as a postgraduate student in 1979. For a time he taught architecture at the University of East London and fine art at Middlesex University. His first films - Stonebridge Park (1981), Norwood (1983), The End (1986), Valtos (1987) and The Clouds (1989) - are typified by their use of subjective camera and voice-over, a technique that was further refined in his longer films London (1994), Robinson in Space (1997) and Robinson in Ruins (2010).