Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Surname Viet, Given Name Nam

Cultural translation expert Dr Carol O’Sullivan will be facilitating the discussion after Sunday’s screening of Surname Viet, Given Name Nam. Here Carol offers some initial thoughts on the film.

I had the very great pleasure today of an advance screening of Trinh T. Minh-ha’s extraordinary 1989 documentary Surname Viet, Given Name Nam.

It’s been talked about by researchers in film and in subtitling, so I had known of it for some time but never had a chance to see it because it’s not on commercial release.

The lovely folk at the Watershed cinema very kindly allowed me to come in and have a sneak preview, which was a great luxury.

I’m particularly interested in how the film plays with text on screen, but as today’s showing showed (ha), the director plays with a lot more than that, including with the documentary format itself.

I don’t want to give away too much about it ahead of Sunday’s showing, but readers who know the film already or don’t mind being slightly spoiled may be interested in Jonathan Rosenbaum’s review from back in the day. There’s also a very short preview on Youtube, though it only gives a hint of the film’s richness.

The film will be screened in 16mm format. I’m really looking forward to seeing it again.

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Next Screenings for Translation/ Transmission

Audre Lorde stands in a park

We are reaching the mid-point for Translation/ Transmission so wanted to remind you of what is coming up this week.

On Tuesday 18 March at 6pm we are showing Dagmar Schultz’s beautiful biopic of her good friend Audre Lorde.

The film is an intimate portrayal of Lorde which allows us to see her as a transnational feminist figure who worked hard to facilitate the collective identities of the Afro-German community in Berlin.

We will also be screening a very special video made by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, who will be reading a letter she wrote to Audre Lorde as part of her activist-educational project The Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.

Tickets are selling fast so make sure you buy in advance.

On Sunday 23 March at 1pm we are showing Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Surname Viet Given Name Nam, a profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society,

Using dance, printed texts, folk poetry and the words and experiences of Vietnamese women in Vietnam—from both North and South—and the United States, Trinh’s film challenges official culture with the voices of women.

Image of the same woman taken from several angles

Bristol based academic and self-proclaimed film nerd Carol O’Sullivan will be on hand afterwards to help guide the debate.

We are reading criticism relating to the film at this Wednesday’s reading group at Hydra books, 7-9pm, if you want to engage with the film’s theoretical ideas. Download the articles here and here – all welcome!

Don’t forget you can buy your tickets for the Intellect Books raffle at all screenings!

Hope to see you at Watershed for one of the shows!

Translation/ Transmission – Press Release

Press Release

For immediate release:

Film Season Celebrating Women’s History month throughout March at Watershed

Over Women’s History Month in March 2014, Translation/ Transmission: Women’s Activism Across Time and Space will host seven screenings at Watershed, celebrating the diverse ways women activists have communicated their struggle through film.  Well-received and less well-known films will be shown together for the first time in a season that explores the potential of film and feminist media to translate across the boundaries of language, genre, time and culture.

Translation/ Transmission features activist documentaries and women filmmakers from the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain, Jamaica, Palestine, Germany, Vietnam, USA, Iran and France/ Cameroon, highlighting the diversity of different feminisms across geographical locations and historical moments.

Screenings will take place on Sundays at 1pm and Tuesdays at 6pm every week from 9th March.

The film season opens on 9th March at 1pm with a screening of Calypso Rose the Lioness of the Jungle, about the diva of Calypso music and pioneer of women’s rights, Calypso Rose.  There will also be a singing performance from Nia Melody.

Kingdom of Women (2010) screens on 11th March. It tells the story of women from the Ein El Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon and the screening will feature a response by Rita from the Bristol-based Palestinian Embassy and Nakba Museum. Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair (1978) and In Our Own Time (1981), two films from the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain, screen on 16th March, with a response from Clarissa Jacob.

Audre Lorde The Berlin Years: 1984-1992 (2012), a film about the poet’s time spent in Berlin will be screened on 18th March alongside a video of Alexis Pauline Gumbs reading her letter to Lorde. Trinh T. Minh-ha’s personal documentary Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) will be shown on 23rd March, followed by a discussion led by cultural translation expert Dr Carol O’Sullivan.

A film from the Sistren Theatre Collective from Jamaica, Sweet Sugar Rage (1985) will be screened on 25th March. It will be followed by a response from Dr Gail Lewis. Screening on 30th March is Facing Mirrors (2011), set in contemporary Iran, the film is about a relationship between Rana, a traditional wife and Edi, who is transgender.  Elhum Shakerifar, a documentary film maker, will offer her thoughts on this groundbreaking film.

More information:
translationtransmission.wordpress.com

@TTBristol2014

facebook.com/translationtransmission

Tickets available from Watershed’s website.

All tickets are £5.50 full/ £4.00 concessions or as part of the season, buy 4 Translation/ Transmission tickets and get a 5th free when bought in person or over the phone.

Translation/ Transmission is grateful to Watershed, Feminist Archive South, Intellect books and University of Bristol for their generous support of the film season.

Welcome

Translation/ Transmission: Women’s Activism Across Space & Time Film Season is taking place throughout March 2014 at the Watershed Cinema in Bristol.

We will post details on how to buy tickets as soon as they are on sale.

For now, please take a look at the films we are showing and get excited for March!

Please keep checking back as we will announce an exciting competition courtesy of Intellect Books and our full programme of discussions.