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DIALOGUE #5

April 9, 2017

 

Money, Space and Cinema, fourth screening.

 

The audience for this event included four people who had not previously attended and 10 who had. The audience included 2 men and 12 women, in addition to the organiser. Muireann de Barra, n independent documentary maker and educator was a guest speaker for the dialogue. The audience was made up of artists (mostly) and academics. The dialogue was divided into three sections; the screening, and a conversation circle which began with a conversation between myself and Muireann, followed by a less formal discussion in Tom Collins Public House.

 

This fourth screening examined the plight of human beings caught in what Saksia Sassen describes as contemporary capitalism's logic of 'expulsion' (Sassen, 2014) a state of extreme brutality which sees people expelled from geographical areas and also from protective systems. The featured film was Fire At Sea, (Rosi, 2016), a prize-winning documentary set on the island of Lampadusa during the ongoing European migrant crisis. This work sets the migrants' dangerous Mediterranean crossing against a background of the ordinary life of the islanders. A reviewer described it as having 'a distinctive, humane cinematic style' and being 'a collection of tiny details that morph, almost by osmosis, into a shocking excavation of the mechanics of crisis' (Pulver, 2016).

 

For the dialogue we relocated to the rehearsal room, a much smaller, warmer space, more conducive to conversation. Muireann de Barra posed some very relevant and important questions concerning the film and the questions posed by documentary film-making in situations of trauma.

 

A number of significant questions were posed by the group concerning the tone of the film – whether it was hopeful, in its portrayal of human compassion shown by rescuers to the refugees, or whether it provoked despair on account of the brutal realities that continue to afflict those refugees after they are distributed around various countries in Europe. The question of the gap between the viewer and the screen was raised as a conundrum;  a suggestion was made subsequently to view a particular work by the artist Elaine Hoey, The Weight of Water (2016)  

 

Discussions continued in the pub afterwards. I had an interesting conversation with Deirdre Power regarding the new proposed bridge in Limerick city and the way in which that can be understood in the context of public space and urban development. At a cost of €9m, Lucia Pola who is based close to Nicholas St. which this bridge will bypass was outraged that this money was not being spent on rejuvenating the street and making that the main thoroughfare to the castle.

 

REFERENCES 

Sassen, S. 2014, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, Harvard University Press.  

Pulver, A. (22 February 2016). 'Why Fire at Sea sailed away with the Berlin film festival's Golden Bear, The Guardian. 

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