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Arch on Film: The Prison in Twelve Landscapes / Arena / Q&A

Barbican Centre
Event organized by Barbican Centre

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A double bill exploring landscapes of incarceration, beyond the prison’s walls. We are delighted that director Brett Story will be present for a Skype Q&A, in conversation with Tom Wilkinson (art and architectural historian, Architectural Review) following the screening of her film, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes.

(2016, USA, Brett Story, 84 mins)

Brett Story’s lyrical documentary offers a meditative illumination of the far reaches of the US prison system, finding its presence in unlikely and unexpected places, and revealing it through a sophisticated cinematic prism, full of formal beauty.

An ex-con chess master ruminates on the ‘theory of the game’, before the film explores the economic, social and psychological tentacles of the justice system’s infrastructure. From ‘recession proof’ jobs sustaining whole communities to the prison of payday loans, from cages of race and resources to a radio station penetrating walls, from anti-sex-offender pocket parks to the reaches of real estate, Story’s film presents physical and subliminal architectures of control and power.

Taking the audience on an idiosyncratic, innovate and myriad journey through both its subject matter and the USA, across its twelve vignettes the film illuminates the invisible prisons and prisoners that exist in plain sight, relocating the prison to the geographies and relationships in which we live.


(2009, Portugal, João Salaviza, 15 mins)

In celebrated Portuguese director Salaviza’s fictional short, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, a man under house arrest lingers in a domestic prison. A sensual slice of sun soaked cinema, framed by the carceral architecture, both physical and psychological, of a suburban housing estate.

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