Oxford Human Rights Short Film Night watch party showcased some of the most dynamic and thought-provoking animations, shorts and documentaries that explore the theme of disruption.
The films take us from a housing estate in Belfast, to the war-scarred architecture of urban Lebanon and the poorest neighbourhoods of Havana that resonate with the sound of the Cuban Rumba.
Examining the impacts of conflict, loss, gender disparity, indigenous rights and class identity, the films focus on people disrupting the status quo through music and protest, and on those whose lives have been disrupted and profoundly changed.
The film night gave participants the opportunity to share comments and reflections after each film.
The films screened:
Grab my Hand: a Letter to my Dad : A personal story of grief, those we look up to, and how the interactions we may deem insignificant can play a huge part in how we live our lives. (5 mins, 2019, English, Camrus Johnson & Pedro Piccinini.)
Welcome to a Bright White Limbo: Combining poetical narration and dance performance, this visually arresting and visceral film dives into the mind and creative process of Oona Doherty’s award-winning dance show ‘Hope Hunt.’ Shot on the streets of a housing estate in Belfast, Oona explores gender expression, class identity and a sense of place, through movement. (11 mins, 2019, English, Cara Holmes.)
Uproar : Deep in the poorest neighbourhood of Havana, you will find Rumba Morena; a band of nine drummers and singers performing with astounding passion and fervour. Whilst it is not unusual to hear Rumba drifting from back alleys in Havana, Rumba Morena is different – they are all women. Cuban Rumba is traditionally played by men only, and Rumba Morena breaks the mould. Uproar explores the complex intersection of religion, music and gender dynamics of Rumba Morena – and the roots influencing the male resistance to it. (20 mins, 2020, Spanish w/English subtitles, Mo Najati.)
Lupita : In a country where indigenous people are increasingly displaced, their land stolen, where students disappear without trace following police arrest, and journalists are murdered at an alarming rate, a courageous new voice emerges. Lupita, a Tsostil Maya massacre survivor, at the forefront of a new movement of indigenous women. If anyone can change the conscience of Mexico, it is Lupita, confronting corrupt militares, mobilizing her pueblo’s resistance, and cultivating a new generation of organized and vocal Maya activists. (21 mins, 2020, Spanish w/English subtitles, Monica Wise Robles).
Concrete Forms of Resistance : Filmed in Tripoli, Lebanon, Concrete Forms of Resistance is a documentary centred upon the city’s abandoned ‘Permanent International Fair’, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the mid-1960s. Progress and crisis, labour and capital, material and memory, are reflected through a very intelligent rhyme between image and sound. The touching voice and words of Niemeyer as a call for life, and the beautiful camerawork as a weaving of ghosts in the present landscapes. (25 mins, 2019, Arabic, English, Portuguese, Nick Jordan.)
This film night took place on 18 March 2021. The film night was curated for the festival by Angus Stanley, MArchD student, and Ren Bennett, BA Film student, in collaboration with Oxford Brookes Documentary Club.