John Akomfrah: The Stuart Hall Project – Revolution, Politics, Culture And The New Left Experience

Filmforum im Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
29 Sep 2018

John Akomfrah, 2018 © Senses of Cinema, via Akademie der Künste der Welt

John Akomfrah, 2018 © Senses of Cinema, via Akademie der Künste der Welt

How can we experience history in the present? How is knowledge of history documented and transmitted? Director John Akomfrah distils hundreds of hours of archived material into a remarkable film on the life and work of British sociologist Stuart Hall, who, until his death in 2014, was considered one of the most important intellectuals of his time.

With the help of original sound and historical images, which he skilfully weaves together, Akomfrah brings us in proximity to the intellectual world of the co-founder of Cultural Studies and the pioneer of the New Left.

The Stuart Hall Project revolves around politics, history and revolution, the unrest and upheaval in the late 20th and early 21st centuries ‒ but also around music. “When I was about 19 or 20, Miles Davis put his finger on my soul”, Hall says in the film, and the jazz of the legendary trumpet player and composer also lends structure to Akomfrah’s cinematic essay. Out of sounds and visuals a portrait of a theoretician and political activist gradually emerges, which reaches back to colonial Jamaica, where even as a child, Hall was confronted by the segregating mechanisms of race and class. Akomfrah succeeds in creating a stirring film homage out of found footage, which reflects both the methods of and the potential for remembering. An introduction by scholar and dramaturge Aurora Rodonò precedes the screening.

Film-maker John Akomfrah (* 1957 in Accra, Ghana) made his mark in 1982 as co-founder of the Black Audio Film Collective in London. For his debut film Handsworth Songs (1986), he received the Grierson Award for best documentary film. Numerous works have followed, including The Unfinished Conversation (2013) and Vertigo Sea (2015). The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate Britain in London dedicated solo exhibitions to him in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Akomfrah lives and works in London.


29 September 2018, 5pm

Filmforum im Museum Ludwig,
Bischofsgartenstraße 1,
50667 Cologne

in English, entrance 6€

With an introduction in German by Aurora Rodonò

In cooperation with Internationale Filmschule Köln



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