British Islands

Voyage through decades of artists’ film with this meditation on who we are and where we live.

The places we live and the destinations we visit have an immense impact on our sense of self and what our lives are like, both as a community and as individuals. This selection of films by significant British artists looks at the relationship between physical space and our broader social and political lives.

From the striking use of the camera in Martin Hearne’s Central Figure (1978) to the sensitivity of Margaret Tait’s portrait Aspects of Kirkwall (1981), this collection shows how artists use film in new and extraordinary ways.

Five to try

Continental Drift (2005)

Echoing the work of Humphrey Jennings, William Raban’s film of Dover harbour shows how Britain is defined by its complex relationship with Europe.

Supernumeraries (2003)

Who is accountable for the stowaway held on a merchant ship and what should the captain do? By Anja Kirschner.

Territories (1984)

The violence and racial upset of the Notting Hill Carnivals of 1976 and 1984 are pored over in this film by Isaac Julien.

Often During the Day (1978)

The notion that ‘the woman belongs in the kitchen’ gets a grilling in Jo Davis’ film.

Room – Double Take (1967)

A man gets high from a bong while Peter Gidal’s camera seeks out the counter-cultural paraphernalia scattered around his room.

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