Tag Archives: London

Discussion with Andres Wood at the BFI Southbank

Mamoun Hassan was on hand to introduce the contemporary classic, Machuca, one of his Spanish language collaborations at the National Film Theatre on Thursday 1 September.
David Somerset, of the BFI, spoke to director Andres Wood live from Santiago de Chile via Skype, with Mamoun on hand, about the development of the script and the filming of this highly acclaimed and influential film. Despite a few technical hitches, the discussion was lively, and gave an insight into the production process and the inspiration behind it.

Special thanks must go to David Somerset, who organised the event, for his cool head when Skype occasionally lost connection with Chile, and for his enthusiastic support over the past years.

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L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank


Mamoun introduced L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank on 14th December to a packed NFT3. It was the last ‘Passport to Cinema’ curated by Dominic Power as Head of Screen Arts at the NFTS.

Mamoun did not have enough time to talk about many aspects of Antonioni’s work, so there will be a follow up soon: Antonioni and what the Eye can See.

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Mamoun’s introduction to Werner Herzog’s ‘The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser’

Mamoun introduced The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser on Monday 2nd November at the BFI Southbank in NFT2. It was a very different experience from other introductions and to that end, we have produced a different kind of re-presentation to enhance the experience.

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Terence Davis ‘Children’ at the BFI South Bank – A discussion with Terence Davies

Here is a chance to listen to the discussion that Mamoun had with Terry at the showing of his first film ‘Children’ on 16th March this year.

Terry was, as always, charming, funny, witty and illuminating. Mamoun and the audience had a wonderful hour with Terry, taking him away from post-production of his latest film.

Special thanks must go to David Somerset of the the BFI for curating the event – It couldn’t have happened without his involvement.

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Some of the Palestinians

I landed in Beirut with my wife and young family on 19 April 1974 to take up my appointment as Head of Films Branch, UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees). A leftist leader had been assassinated in South Lebanon the previous day and that event is regarded  as the start  of the civil war. A few days later I drove down to Nabatieh Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon to film the consequence of Israeli bombing. The camp had been obliterated. A few days later I filmed the effect of bombing in Rashidieh, a camp further down the coast near Tyre.

The brief was to document the services – Housing, Education, Health, Rations – that UNRWA offered the Palestinian refugees.  My immediate boss and chief of the AV division was the legendary Myrtle Winter Chaumeny (writer, photographer, sailor, dancer); the director of Information was John Defrates, the bravest man I have ever met, who was a Navy pilot in the icy waters near Vladivostock during WWll. I was given a fairly free hand but editorial control rested with UNRWA. What I saw in South Lebanon and elsewhere gave me the form of the film: the experience of life in the camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan  – but not the West Bank because Israel refused me entry. Myrtle filmed that sequence.

So the story is about war in Lebanon; life in one the oldest camps near Aleppo established in 1948; work in Baqa’a in Jordan which accommodated thousands of fleeing refugees after the 1967 war;  and education in Ramallah.

Since then everything has changed for the worse for the Palestinian people. The locations for the film are now war zones or something very similar.  The tragedy continues.

Mamoun

The film was invited to the London Film Festival and Teheran Film Festival. A copy is held by The National Film Archive.

Some of the Palestinians is being shown as part of the Refugee season at the BFI South Bank, London. NFT 2, 19th June 2014. Tickets from the BFI ticket office and website.

We would like to give special thanks to David Somerset of BFI education for his support, and including this film in the season.

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Introduction to Bergman’s ‘Persona’ at the NFT

Bibi Andersson and Live Ullman in Persona

Bibi Andersson and Live Ullman in ‘Persona’

This week I was asked by Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts at National Film and Television School (NFTS) to introduce a screening of Bergman’s Persona at the National Film Theatre Southbank, London.

It’s taking a liberty telling an audience how to view a film minutes before seeing it.

I prefer to give them a perspective, often by referring to the director’s other work. I talk primarily about form and style, sometimes about subjects that recur. I try to keep it simple. The film’s the thing.

Here is a recording of the event, montaged with a few slides:

The film was shown as part of the NFTS ‘Passport to Cinema’ season – a continuous and comprehensive overview of every facet of cinema, from its beginnings to the present day.

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Wojciech Smarzowski’s ‘Rose’ sparks a debate at the BFI

I recently  took part in a panel discussion on Wojciech Smarzowski’s 2011 war drama ‘Rose’ which was screened as part of Refugee Week at BFI Southbank, London, June 18th.

The screening was organised by David Somerset of the BFI who invited me because I was a member of Human Rights Jury of the Cairo Film Festival that awarded ‘Rose’ the Tahrir Square Prize in December 2012. (How bitterly ironic the word “Tahrir” meaning “liberation” is now).

The other contributors,  a Professor of History from LSE, and representatives of UNHCR and the Refugee Council, were seeing the film not only as a film but as reference to many other things.  

Film does not exist in vacuum and certainly ROSE does not. This debate was well received at the Institute and shows how necessary it is to have public discussion about cinema.

We have edited a clip of the panel debate filmed by the BFI. It opens with an introduction to the film from the historian Anita Prażmowska.

Camera was Ace Ashun, who had to shoot from a poor position due to health and safety regulations at the National Film Theatre.

A number of audience contributions followed but sadly the sound quality was not good enough to include them.        

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