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Plastic China

This urgent and moving documentary focuses on the struggle of Yi Jie, a young girl who lives with her family in a plastic-sorting town in China where recycled waste from Europe, the United States and other parts of Asia winds up. China is the world’s largest importer of plastic waste. Throughout the country, there are nearly 30 towns engaged in processing this refuse in highly toxic environments. This highly intimate portrait reveals the human and environmental costs of living and working in these artificial, and truly plastic, landscapes.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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Rat Film

Across walls, fences, and alleys, rats not only expose our boundaries of separation but make homes in them. A portrait of Baltimore as a laboratory for both rodent and human populations alike, Rat Film is an acerbic, seductive and hugely inventive documentary that explodes the American city’s ‘rat problem’ into a powerful and poetic tale of urban, social and racial inequalities. Combining elements including academic research, tender encounters with eccentric characters, Google Maps hacks, a Dan Deacon soundtrack, the tactics of rat hunters and the architectural adaptations of rat keepers, Rat Film tells a devastating tale of a city’s means of keeping its ‘undesirable’ elements in order.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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Why is Mr W. Laughing?

Why is Mr W. Laughing? is a portrait of three members of an atelier community of artists with different disabilities. Questioning the usual asymmetry of inclusion (meaning that often there is just a monologue about and not a dialogue with the persons concerned), the film is a cinematic experiment that politicizes boundary-practices in its form and content: Rather than making a film about inclusion, the film itself was produced inclusively. The juxtaposition of life and art doesn’t apply for the three who are artists in order to be citizens. Art for them is not a breakaway dream from normality, like for most neurotypical artists, but the quintessence of bourgeois work that enables them to participate in society and to solidarize.

We will be joined after the screening for a Q&A with director Jana Papenbroock.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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We’ll Be Alright

In Siberia, Russia, Alexander Kuznetsov follows Yulia and Katia, who went from an orphanage to a neuropsychiatric institution. Deprived of freedom, work and family, they had no say in it and getting those fundamental rights back is a long and painful bureaucratic process. We’ll Be Alright is their path to freedom.

This screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the issues raised, chaired by Richard Warden of Mental Health Foundation and including Christine-Koulla Burke of Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

Presented in collaboration with Mental Health Foundation (UK)

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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Forgetting Vietnam

Influential feminist theorist and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha’s lyrical film essay commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of the war draws inspiration from ancient legend and from water as a force evoked in every aspect of Vietnamese culture. In Forgetting Vietnam images of contemporary life unfold as a dialogue between land and water—the elements that form the term “country.” Fragments of text and song evoke the echoes and traces of a trauma of international proportions. The encounter between the ancient as related to the solid earth, and the new as related to the liquid changes in a time of rapid globalization, creates a third space of historical and cultural re-memory—what local inhabitants, immigrants and veterans remember of yesterday’s stories to comment on today’s events.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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Grab and Run

Since Kyrgyzstan gained its independence in 1991, there has been a revival of the ancient practice of Ala-Kachuu, which translates roughly as “grab and run”. More than half of Kyrgyz women are married after being kidnapped by the men who become their husbands. Some escape after violent ordeals, but most are persuaded to stay by tradition and fear of scandal. Although the practice is said to have its root in nomadic customs, the tradition remains at odds with modern Kyrgyzstan. Ala-Kachuu was outlawed during Soviet era and remains illegal under the Kyrgyz criminal code, but the law has rarely been enforced to protect women from this violent practice. Today in Kyrgyzstan, sheep thieves are punished more severely than bride kidnappers.

Presented in collaboration with Glasgow Women’s Library.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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Prison Sisters

Prison Sisters takes us through the journey of two young women who have been released from prison in Afghanistan. Sara’s uncle has planned to kill her an attempt to save his honor in their small village. Fearing for her life Sara escapes to Sweden, but Najibeh stays behind. While Sara struggles with her newfound freedom, her prison-mate Najibeh disappears and soon Sara hears that she was stoned to death. Sara and the filmmaker want to find out the truth, only to encounter a maze of half- truths on the streets of Afghanistan. We follow the two main characters, revealing what happened to them – each with an exceptional fate depicting the horrific reality for women in Afghanistan.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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Dil Leyla

At 26, Leyla is elected the youngest mayor in Turkey, in her hometown of Cizre, a Kurdish capital city near the Iraqi-Syrian border—a city she was forced to flee over 20 years ago, after her father was killed by the Turkish military when she was a little girl. Her goal is to heal and beautify the civil-war-torn city, which is enjoying a break in the violence. But on the eve of Turkey’s parliamentary elections, everything changes, and old memories become more real than ever.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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Woman, Native, Other | Trinh T Minh-ha Retrospective

“He belongs to that fraction of humanity which for centuries has made other fractions the objects of contempt and exploitation, then, when it saw the handwriting on the wall, set about to give them back their humanity.”

Trinh T Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and composer. Her practice centres around intersection of gender and colonialism. Her film work exposes the processes of othering and the politics of representation. She is Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.

Women, Native, Other at the Pipe Factory will present two of Trinh T Minh-ha’s early film works in series. Poignant and at times disorientating, these early films not only demonstrate the beauty of film but also demand the viewer to question oneself, as spectator.

Reassemblage (7-10 October)

1982 | 40m (loop)

Women are the focus but not the object of Trinh T Minh-ha’s influential first film, a complex visual study of the women of rural Senegal. Through a complicity of interaction between film and spectator, REASSEMBLAGE reflects on documentary filmmaking and the ethnographic representation of cultures.

“With uncanny eloquence, REASSEMBLAGE distills sounds and images of Senegalese villagers and their surroundings to reconsider the premises and methods of ethnographic filmmaking. By disjunctive editing and a probing narration this ‘documentary’ strikingly counterpoints the authoritative stance typical of the National Geographic approach.” — Laura Thielan

Surname Viet, Given Name Nam (8-15 October)

1989 | 1hr 48m (loop)

Of marriage and loyalty: “Daughter, she obeys her father/ Wife, she obeys her husband/ Widow, she obeys her son.”

This profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society. Using dance, printed texts, folk poetry and the words and experiences of Vietnamese women in Vietnam—from both North and South—and the United States, Trinh’s film challenges official culture with the voices of women. A theoretically and formally complex work, SURNAME VIET GIVEN NAME NAM explores the difficulty of translation, and themes of dislocation and exile, critiquing both traditional society and life since the war.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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I Want To Be A People’s Representative

Can a documentary camera be a tool for democracy in China? Jia Zhitan certainly thinks so, and wields his camera like an anti-bureaucratic weapon. Jia, a member of Caochangdi’s influential Villagers Documentary Project (organizer Wu Wenguang has been training local villagers to use digital video cameras to record their participation in ultra-local politics), wants to run to be a delegate to the National People’s Congress. He wins the first round, but is deemed unqualified by officials for reasons they keep to themselves. As the irrepressibly scrappy and stubborn Jia seeks explanations and redress from ever higher levels of authority, he records their interactions scenes that would play as entertaining satiric comedy if they weren’t so frustratingly real.

Part of the cancelled 11th Annual Beijing Independent Film Festival.

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Posted: 18 September 2017

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