film directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
released 23 February
This award winning film set in contemporary Mali goes on general release on Friday 23 February.
It dramatises a surreal mock trial in a domestic courtyard where “witnesses” from government ministers to ordinary farmers set out the case against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
As everyday life continues around the trial, witnesses describe how neoliberal policies have reduced Africa to poverty.
Socialist Review magazine spoke to Bamako’s director Abderrahmane Sissako last November. You can read the interview online at www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=9875
exhibition by Simon Patterson
Haunch of Venison Gallery, London W1, until 24 February
British artist Simon Patterson’s latest show looks at a highly politicised era of cultural production.
He relates the infamous witch-hunting of Communist sympathisers in Hollywood during the early 1950s to a stylistic aspect of the films they worked on – the end-titles.
Patterson’s paintings are stills from an imaginary set of such titles. He uses fonts and layout typical of the time, but inserts names of film workers outlawed by Joe McCarthy’s House of Un?American Activities.
There is one sense in which focusing on such end-titles is an unstated tribute to the success of the left in Hollywood.
In a manner unique to this capitalist commodity, every worker’s name is registered on every copy. Hollywood unions, from screenwriters to set builders to canteen staff, had won these credits through collective action.
But ideologically suggestive though this show may be, it is less successful aesthetically. Being in the presence of the works added little to viewing them online, I felt.