Award-winning documentary by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch
examines sea as capitalism’s global trading floor
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents the Nashville premiere of The Forgotten Space (112 m.), a film essay by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, on Monday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be introduced by Assistant Professor Tom Williams.
The Forgotten Space, which seeks “to understand the contemporary maritime world in relation to the symbolic legacy of the sea” [theforgottenspace.net], made its world premiere at the 2010 Venice Film Festival and was awarded the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize.
Focusing on shipping containers (those ubiquitous metal boxes that make the world economy possible) aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, The Forgotten Space offers an incisive critical introduction to the bewildering process of globalization by presenting perspectives of workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and especially those marginalized by the global transport system. It chronicles the plights of displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. And in Bilbao, it documents the most sophisticated expression of a pervasive belief that the maritime economy, and the sea itself, is somehow obsolete.
Through a range of materials, including descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and clips from old movies, Sekula and Burch create an essayistic, visual documentary about the dizzying process of globalization as it transforms the world we live in today. Based on Sekula’s earlier photographic project Fish Story, the film describes the contemporary maritime world of commerce and drudgery in relation to the romantic legacy of the sea.
Allan Sekula is a world-renowned photographer and theorist of photography. His work has often included photographic sequences, written texts, slide shows and sound recordings, but this is his first feature-length film. His books include Photography against the Grain (1984), Fish Story (1995), Dismal Science (1999), Performance under Working Conditions (2003), Titanic’s Wake (2003), and Polonia and Other Fables (2009).
Noël Burch is a celebrated critic and author known for his focus on early cinema. Among his numerous publications are his first and best-known book Theory of Film Practice (1973) and the exhaustive To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema (1979). As a filmmaker, he has directed more than twenty films, mostly documentaries.
Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; plentiful free parking is available in the campus lot.
For more information, visit Watkins.edu or call 615-383-4848.