The BMI will be showing Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska’s (Bedfordshire and Birkbeck alumna) film Lovers in Time or How We didn't get arrested in Harare (2015), followed by the launch of Piotrowska's new monograph Black and White: cinema, politics and the arts in Zimbabwe as well as Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable edited by Piotrowska and Ben Tyrer (Essex), both published by Routledge. The collection comprises contributions from scholars and clinicians: Anna Backman Rogers, Birthe Nikolajsen Gregersen, Thomas Elsaesser, Carin Franzen, Marie Hagelskjær, Annie Hardy, Elizabeth Hughes, Yaelle Malpertu, John Miller, Pia Siegler Lathrop, Per Roar, Richard Rushton and the editors.
After the film there will be a discussion about theory and practice led by Professor Thomas Elsaesser, Columbia, with the participation of Professor Diana Jeater, Goldsmiths College, Dr Winston Mano, Westminster University and Dr William Brown, Roehampton University.
There will be a wine reception following the screening and a discussion.
Lovers in Time could be seen a sample chapter from the Black and White monograph, and vice versa: the book analyses and conceptualizes what it means to create collaboratively in Zimbabwe today, also working through an ultimately ‘unrepresentable’ postcolonial trauma. The collection too includes artistic contributions as well as scholarly papers.
Presenting the books and film together will be a way to explore this challenging combination of theory and practice. Black and White blends psychoanalysis, ethnography, personal memoir and film analysis. Commenting on the documentary Lovers in Time, Thomas Elsaesser described it as “a timely political film… an unusually riveting example of the ‘essay film’: understood as a special kind of historical reflexivity, manifesting itself across several layers of subjectivity.” Using the ‘putting on a play’ metaphor, Lovers in Time is in dialogue with canonical filmmakers such as Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer as well as with cinéma vérité techniques. It moves documentary filmmaking into new realms that also include fictionalizing elements, fantasy and trauma. As a director and protagonist, Piotrowska is “both a persona and a role, both an authority and someone struggling to stay in control: of an errant cast and of her inner turmoil, her growing doubts and split feelings.” This conflicted state of mind – emblematic of the ethical dilemmas facing many documentary filmmakers – is exactly what Piotrowska analyses in her work, both in her writing and in the film.