Fri 4 – Sun 6 March 2016

This special weekend presents 11 screenings of films by the British filmmaker Marc Karlin, described on his death in 1999 as Britain’s most significant, unknown filmmaker. For three decades he was a leading figure within Britain’s independent film community, actively contributing to opening up television through Channel 4.

In the 1980s–90s Karlin’s work was persistent in its questioning of the future of the British Left. It takes us on journeys through socialism, political change and cinema itself, critiquing both Thatcherism and Blair’s New Labour. Undeterred by these fundamental societal shifts and the crippling confusion affecting the Left, Karlin invested himself in the continued exploration of socialist themes.

Karlin was present in Paris around the events of May 1968. Inspired by the work of Chris Marker, he submerged himself into London’s newly formed independent film collectives. Although informed by an international perspective, most of Karlin’s work focuses on the UK with the notable exception of his remarkable series of films on the Nicaraguan revolution.

On FRI 4 MARCH the weekend launches with BETWEEN TIMES (1993) a journey through debates around Tony Blair’s programme for New Labour, revealing the assumptions and consequences buried in the spin. Framed as a debate between socialism and postmodernism the film tells two stories; one about an attempted workers’ buy-out which ended in the NCB’s destruction of Thurcroft Colliery, and the other about a dustman who becomes a student at a trade union college.

SAT 5 MARCH continues the focus on Karlin’s questioning of the future of the British Left, with the screening of five films including THE SERPENT (1997), a blackly funny drama-documentary in which a London architect (a Tony Blair supporter by day and Ken Livingstone fan by night) dreams of destroying Rupert Murdoch who has made England ‘ a hard, sniggering, resentful, hard shoulder of a place’.

On SUN 6 MARCH we screen all five of Karlin’s films about the revolution in Nicaragua, beginning in 1978–79 with a film of American photographer Susan Meiselas’ images of the two insurrections that led to the overthrow of fifty years of dictatorship by the Somoza family, and continuing with films shot by Karlin in 1983–84 observing the problems of putting socialism into practice and the political process leading up to the 1984 elections.

All screenings are accompanied by Q&A discussions. Presented in partnership with the Marc Karlin Archive.

A Film Pass is available with special discounted tickets for all the weekend screenings, direct from Tyneside Cinema.

Further information about all the Marc Karlin films here.

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