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Return to Nicaragua documentary screening


“In 1979 journalists, politicians and ourselves suddenly took notice of a country which, up until then, hardly seemed to have a history but with its revolution found itself bound up with the future of superpower politics. We first went to Nicaragua in 1983 looking for a socialism that would’ve learnt from its past mistakes and so avoid all the horrors which had attended all previous revolutions. Instead of socialism we found a nation just barely born, preparing itself for an invasion.” —Scenes for a Revolution (1991)

35 years on from the Sandinista revolution, Return to Nicaragua offers a very rare opportunity to view one of the most committed documentary projects of the late twentieth century in its entirety – Marc Karlin’s Nicaragua series (1985/1991).

Contrary to other reports coming out of Nicaragua at the time, the films were not triumphalist in their portrayal of the Sandinista Revolution. They observed the nuanced dilemmas of putting socialism into practice. Rarely is a FSLN leader interviewed and instead, Karlin shifts his focus to street and rural life. This allowed farmers, community leaders, journalists and circus performers to share not only their fears about the economic sanctions and the military aggression by US backed counter-revolutionaries that put a heavy strain on the economy, but their hopes and anxieties over new realities that the revolution has brought them.

On his death in 1999, Marc Karlin was described as Britain’s most significant, unknown film-maker. For three decades, he had been a key figure within Britain’s independent film community; he was a founding member of the influential seventies collective, the Berwick Street Film Collective; a leading player in the Independent Filmmakers Association, which played a critical role in opening up television through Channel 4, and a founding member of the group that published the independent film journal, Vertigo, (1993 – 2010).

Free screenings of the films, with invited speakers, panels and dialogues will be held:

from: Fri 21 – Sun 23 November 2014 at: UCL, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

To book your place, click here.

Marc Karlin: Look Again, focusing on Karlin’s twelve essay documentaries between 1980 –1999, will be published by Liverpool University Press in Spring 2015. This is one of the outputs of The Marc Karlin Archive, set up by Holly Aylett, fellow documentarist and founder member of Vertigo; anthropologist, Hermione Harris, partner of Marc Karlin, and film archivist, Andy Robson. Since 2011, the Archive has organised and preserved Marc Karlin’s film and paper archive, and introduced new audiences to his work through events and screenings. Please contact Andy Robson, Film Archivist at the Marc Karlin Archive for more details:

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