Cinema Matters Part 6: Time, Memory, Dream

Barbican Cinema, Barbican Centre
Cinema Matters Part 6: Time, Memory, Dream
2 Nov – 17 Dec, Cinemas 3
Box Office 0845 120 7527


Following a year long exploration on the impact of cinema on the world around us, Barbican Cinema’s Cinema Matters season concludes with Part 6: Time, Memory, Dream. This final section considers film as a medium that inscribes and unspools in time, and its specific innovations in relation to the representation of time, memory and dreams on the big screen. Screenings include celebrated French filmmaker Chris Marker’s San Soleil, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles; the influential debut feature from Alain Resnais, Hiroshima, Mon Amour; Andrei Tarkovsky’s stunning piece of filmmaking, Mirror; Peter Weir's unsettling dreamscape Picnic At Hanging Rock; and widely credited as one of the finest British films ever made, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

Part of Film in Focus


Sans Soleil (15)

Thu 2 Nov 6.30pm, Cinema 3

France 1983 Dir Chris Marker 104 min Digital presentation

Any exploration of time, memory and dream in cinema must begin with celebrated French filmmaker Chris Marker’s masterpiece, Sans Soleil. Human memory being a career-long obsession for Marker, this dazzling essay film hops between countries and topics as various as the future of civilization, the significance of Hitchock’s Vertigo, and Japanese erotica.

In its arrest of time, moving and still photographic imagery appear to hold memory in place and to prompt remembering. But photographed or filmed images also have the capacity to interfere with the memories we hold. As the narrator of Sans Soleil confides: “I remember the month of January in Tokyo, or rather I remember the images that I filed of the month of January in Tokyo. They have substituted themselves for my memory. They are my memory.”


Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (#)

Sun 5 Nov 2pm, Cinema 3

Belgium/France 1975 Dir Chantal Akerman 201 min

Time is created and structured in film by manipulations to plot and story, and via a range of other medium-specific techniques at its disposal: dissolves, cutting, montage, slow and fast motion.

Typically the tendency has been to speed things up and intensify: elision, cross-cutting, fast-cutting – all this so that the spectator might, in a sense, ‘escape’ time, or even emerge from the cinema wondering where the time went.

But there are also films that bring time to the forefront and refuse to be in a hurry – sometimes they are very long, sometimes they only seem very long. This 1975 film by Chantal Akerman is a celebrated example.


Hiroshima, Mon Amour (12A)

Tue 21 Nov 6.30pm, Cinema 3

France/Japan 1959 Dir Alain Resnais 100 min

A brief, intense relationship between a French actress (Emmanuelle Rivas) and a Japanese architect (Eji Okada) in post-war Hiroshima, is haunted by memories in this influential debut feature by Alain Resnais. Asked to do an anti-nuclear documentary in the wake of his influential Holocaust doc Night and Fog, Resnais opted instead for a feature exploring mutual guilt and the power of memory. In Hiroshima Mon Amour, the actress and architect are introduced as She and Him. In the midst of separating, the two begin a reflection on their pasts that delves into forgotten moments and repressed memories deep within their psyche, amidst the devastation brought by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Written by Marguerite Duras, who received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay, the film is a complex journey of remembering and the fascinating relationships between history and personal experience, past and present.


Mirror (U)

Mon 27 Nov 6.30pm, Cinema 3

USSR 1975 Andrei Tarkovsky 106 min Digital presentation

Andrei Tarkovsky thought of film images as imprinted time, and of his filmmaking technique as ‘sculpting’ in time. This, his richest and most resonant work, takes time and memory as its very subject.

Mirror concerns a man in his 40s looking back over his life. The narrative moves back and forward in time in a way that seeks to abolish the distinction between past and present, and to evoke on screen what it is to live, as we all do, somewhere between past and present, a place where the past is not past but remains present to us.

The images and sequences are presented in collage: some colour, some black and white; some personal, others objective. Tarkovsky eventually needed twenty rough cuts before arriving at this intricately interflowing system of flashbacks and archival footage. A stunning piece of filmmaking.


Picnic at Hanging Rock (PG)

Thu 14 Dec 6.30pm, Cinema 3

Australia 1975 Dir Peter Weir 116 min Digital presentation

From the earliest days of the medium, cinema has pulsated with the language of dreams. This Australian classic is a hypnotically exhilarating example of film as waking dream.

That cinema is uniquely placed to give life to our nocturnal visions was apparent to early filmmakers and by mid-century, the idea that films and dreams speak the same language had entered academia, as psychoanalysis was applied to the study of film.

There is a subset of films which are arguably pure dream from beginning to end Picnic at Hanging Rock is one brilliant example. This unsettling period film about the disappearance of a party of schoolgirls announces it is based on a real story.


The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (U)

Sun 17 Dec 2pm, Cinema 3

UK 1943 Michael Powell 162 min

One of the finest British films ever made, masterfully weaving the passage of time and its effect on body and soul. Through the lifetime saga of a British officer (Roger Livesey), whose life, loves (Deborah Kerr) and friendships are charted from the time of the Boer War to his demotion to the Home Guard during World War II.

Both tender and critical this is a poignant cinematic journey through both one man’s lifetime epoch and early 20th century British history through an elaborate structure of cinematic flashbacks.

Upon its release, during WWII, the film was banned from export, testament to the unease about its depiction of British political elite and the cherished friendship between Blimp and his sympathetic German counterpart, Theodore Kretschmar-Schuldorff (Anton Walbrook).

Now regarded as a classic from director Powell and writer Emeric Pressburger, one which exemplifies the power of cinema to account for our past.




Notes to Editors


For further information contact:
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Ticket prices: Box Office: 0845 120 7527

* Local Classification

# Certificate to be confirmed