William Raban: Beating The Bridges and Thames Film Thursday May 13th, 20:45, £3 Somerset House Screening Room The Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Renowned filmmaker William Raban presents two works that reflect on the sights and sounds of the river through an approach that takes in the documentary, the archival and the poetic. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the artist led by Dr. Jonathan Dronsfield.
- Beating the Bridges (1998, 11 mins) - Thames Film (1986, 66 mins)
Described by Peter Ackroyd as a film of “beauty, sublimity and terror” Thames film travels along the river length creating a reflective, ambivalent approach to cinematic Modernism. Narrated by John Hurt, it is the closest Raban comes to a conventional documentary, incorporating archive film from 1921-51, panoramic photographs taken in 1937. Brueghel the Elder’s painting “The Triumph of Death” and T.S. Eliot reading “Four Quartets”. Raban centres a study of the sites of modernity, and the meanings that time has inscribed into them, on the Thames. Beating the bridges uses the 30 bridges of the Thames as a range of acoustic space that is featured on the soundtrack by ambient reverb and a live percussion score.
For the last 25 years, William Raban’s films have been partly concerned with documenting East London. These films include Sundial (1992), A13 (1994), Island race (1996), Beating the bridges (1997), Firestation (2000), MM (2002) Ayshe’s tale (2008) and the forthcoming film About Now MMX. All these films adopt an experimental method that is combined with a documentary approach to the subject material. They have been shown on television and screened widely at international documentary film festivals such as Marseilles, Lisbon, Leipzig and Amsterdam. William Raban lives and works in London and is currently Reader in Film at LCC, University of the Arts London.