Speculating through Movies

Speculating Through Movie is a Film Screening Series that runs bi-weekly in the Ethnography Lab. As the Lab exists under the Speculative Life Cluster in the Milieux Institute, the objective of the film screening series is to explore themes that are part of the cluster’s research interests. We chose movies as one medium to bring community together in order to tackle those topics in a stimulating way. Thus, we aim to analyze not only the movies themselves, but the issues that they raise, which are pertinent to the contemporary societies, and in relation with issues that we discuss in other spaces relating to cluster, and beyond the cluster. The screenings are open not only the members of the cluster, but also those who work on relevant issues/fields, and who want to explore them through films and conversations.

[We will provide a picture for the main page of the activity]

11/01 Post-imaginatives and overcoming political turmoils:

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

The first feature length film by Victor Erice, a fiction that metaphorically alludes to the Franco era, projecting the viewer’s imagination to a post-Franco world. The film takes place in a rural village in Spain in the forties, centering around a small girl, Ana, who attends a road-cinema screening of Frankenstein, thereafter seemingly becoming possessed by this figure.

11/15 Anthropocene Imaginary

Upstream Color (2013)

“A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.”

A science-fiction film with an impressionistic style that heavily relies on sound and the senses, and can be interpreted in the context of an “Anthropocene Imaginary” (Kara, 2016). Through this lens, the film can be read as projecting environmental exploitation and anxiety onto human bodies.

11/29 Human – non-human relationships

Le Quattro Volte (2010)

A film taking place in a remote valley in southern Italy, intersecting the lives of a Shepherd, a charcoal-burner, a tree and goats. His camera places as much importance on the story of non-human beings as the human characters, placing them on the same level. Frammatino’s approach to cinema is quite unique; he comes from a background of architecture, photography, and video installations, and has only recently has been working with the film medium. This is his second feature length.

12/13 (Post) Anthropocene cinema – we end on a dystopic tone

Homo Sapiens (2016)

The images could be taken from a science fiction film set on planet Earth after it’s become uninhabitable. Abandoned buildings – housing estates, shops, cinemas, hospitals, offices, schools, a library, amusement parks and prisons. Places and areas being reclaimed by nature, such as a moss-covered bar with ferns growing between the stools, a still stocked soft drinks machine now covered with vegetation, an overgrown rubbish dump, or tanks in the forest. Tall grass sprouts from cracks in the asphalt. Birds circle in the dome of a decommissioned reactor, a gust of wind makes window blinds clatter or scraps of paper float around, the noise of the rain: sounds entirely without words, plenty of room for contemplation. All these locations carry the traces of erstwhile human existence and bear witness to a civilisation that brought forth architecture, art, the entertainment industry, technologies, ideologies, wars and environmental disasters.

24/01 Feminist Perspective

Lizzie Borden, Born in Flames (1983)

07/02 Water – Sustainable Futures

Liz Miller’s Shoreline project (http://theshorelineproject.org/)

28/02 Indigenous Futurities

Labocine shorts series

Indigenous filmmakers reimagining science https://www.labocine.com/spotlight/54

Futurestates episode The 6th World, by Nanobah Becker (Navajo)


14/03 Materiality

Series of experimental films

28/02 Embodiment and Senses

Violent (2014)

11/04 Artificial Intelligence


This seasons screenings have yet to be decided.  Come back soon for an update.


Sami Zenderoudi