By Lizzie Kendal
As part of this year’s Summer Season exploring walls, barriers and borders today, the Frontline Club hosted a preview screening of The Architecture of Violence on Wednesday 13 August. It was followed by a Q&A with director Ana Naomi de Sousa and protagonist, architect and activist Eyal Weizman, moderated by filmmaker Olly Lambert. The film is part of Rebel Architecture, a six-part Al Jazeera English documentary series profiling architects who are using design as a form of activism and resistance to tackle the world’s urban, environmental and social crises.
By Lisa Dupuy
Rabbit a La Berlin, a film by Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosołowski which will be screened on Wednesday 20 August, examines the plights of a colony of rabbits which lived between the two barriers of the Berlin Wall. Enclosed in this space, the animals lived undisturbed lives – until the Wall was taken down. Then the rabbits had to readjust, and learn to live in a new environment (much like the people, of course, who had to unify what was once West and East). The rabbits who inhabited the “death strip” between the West and the East are not the only example of nature caught in human conflict.
The idea is to have a thoroughly good time, encourage reading and discussion of reading, and to end the night happier and wiser than when it began. The notion is further to harvest and focus some of the best ways in which the club has developed over its decade of existence, but also to recapture some of the atmosphere of the ‘old days’ of its outset – a sense of ‘hard core’; dare one admit it, a guilty elitism. All we’d miss are the Romeo Y Julieta, sadly.
There would be no format as such – apart from the fact that there will be a limited-menu prix-fixed dinner of three courses (costing about 25 quid per head), with alcohol paid for separately on top. Numbers would start at five, and go to about 25 – first-come, first-served for a popular night. The number needs to be small enough for discussion to be introduced, presented or very informally ‘chaired’ at the outset – ergo, there should usually be only one conversation going on, not a fragmentation of satellite discourse, as happens at ‘dinner parties’, which these are decisively not.
By Alex Glynn
Although they took place 25 years ago, the horrific events that occurred in Tiananmen Square still remain a contentious subject in China and a point of obsession around the world. On Tuesday 29 July, a panel of experts at the Frontline Club revisited one of China’s most contested historical events, and considered questions of legacy, impact and amnesia.
By Ratha Lehall
On Monday 28 July, the Frontline Club hosted the preview screening of One Rogue Reporter, which was followed by a Q&A with director Rich Peppiatt, chaired by professor of television journalism at City University, Stewart Purvis.
Peppiatt was a tabloid journalist with the Daily Star, who publicly resigned in 2011. His resignation letter was printed in The Guardian, and honestly, and hilariously, outlined the list of reasons for his resignation, providing an insider’s account of life a tabloid newspaper. Since then, Peppiatt has continued to lay bare the truth about the ethically questionable methods of journalism used by the tabloids, and has used comedy to spread his stories. The film uses the Leveson Enquiry as a back drop to Peppiatt‘s various attempts to turn the tables on the UK’s most powerful newspaper bosses. One Rogue Reporter began as a comedy stage show, and gradually developed into a film. The film was completely self-funded by Peppiatt and his partner Tom Jefferson.
Turkey’s prime minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan will win next month’s presidential elections and become the country’s first directly elected president, according to a panel of experts assembled at the Frontline Club on 22 July 2014.
The Frontline Club event was chaired by Murat Nisancioglu, the head of Turkish Service at BBC Global News and brought together Alexander Christie-Miller, an Istanbul-based freelance journalist and Turkey correspondent for Newsweek, The Times and Christian Science Monitor; Fadi Hakura, associate fellow at Chatham House; Sir David Reddaway, British ambassador to Turkey between 2009 and January 2014; and Karabekir Akkoyunlu, who recently completed a PhD about political change in Iran and Turkey at LSE.
The consensus of the panel was that Erdogan would win a convincing victory at the coming polls.
By Ratha Lehall
On Monday 14 July, the Frontline Club hosted a screening of Seeds of Hope, a documentary which focuses on the effect of rape in Eastern Congo, where it has become a widely used weapon of war. The film centres around one woman, Masika, who is herself a victim of rape, and her determination to provide a centre for recovery and sanctuary for other women who have been raped, as well as taking in many children who have either been orphaned or rejected due to their violent origins.
“Where can I go to have a decent life?”
On Friday 11 June, Shorts at the Frontline Club took viewers on a cinematic journey that showcased the different ways used to document the world we live in.
The theme: migration and the phases of migration.
Two at the Border by Tuna Kaptan and Felicitas Sonvilla shone a light onto the lives Ali and Nasser. The two friends attempt to make ends meet by helping refugees to the Turkish-Greek border. Ali is Palestinian, traumatised by the violence he has witnessed. “Problems, problems everywhere,” he repeats with bloodshot eyes.
“Where can I go to have a decent live?” Ali asks the universe.
As if replying to Ali, Europe’s response to the rising number of refugees has been increased militarisation of the Greece–Turkey border. The film is dedicated to Naser, who attempted to smuggle himself into Greece. The boat he was on allegedly capsized in the Aegean Sea, and he has been missing ever since.
“The Journey towards you Lord, is life. To set off is to die a little.” (The Migrants’ Prayer)
On Monday 7 July 2014, the Frontline Club screened Who is Dayani Cristal? The film follows actor Gael García Bernal as he retraced the footsteps of a Honduran man found dead in the Arizonan desert – one of the thousands of lives snuffed out by the lure of the American Dream.
Director and cinematographer Marc Silver joined us for the Q&A.
By Lisa Dupuy
Where there are borders, attempts will likely be made to cross them in the hope of reaching greener pastures. But the individuals who try are not necessarily welcomed by those who live on the other side. Fences, walls and legislation are thrown up to at least regulate the influx of migrants. And in some cases, borders are made dangerous.
By Antonia Roupell
On Thursday 26 June an audience collected at the Frontline Club to watch Martin Scorsese and his longtime documentary collaborator David Tedeschi’s latest film: The 50 Year Argument. This multi-layered documentary offered a unique historical retrospective over the last 50 years through the eyes of the iconic New York Review of Books. The film interweaves monumental historical events with critical analysis of their consequences by some of the Review‘s contributors, through interviews and unique archival footage. The screening was in partnership with the award-winning arts programme BBC Arena and concluded in a Q&A with its series editor Anthony Wall, also the film’s executive producer.
A compelling Frontline Club event on Wednesday 25 June showcased film and photographic work from across the globe that revealed both the depth of suffering and the strength of human spirit in some of the world’s most devastating internal conflicts.
Featured at the event was a series of photographs from Tim Freccia in South Sudan, Alvaro Ybarra Zavala in Venezuela, Eman Mohammed in Gaza and Daniel Berehulak in Afghanistan, curated by multimedia photojournalist and filmmaker John D McHugh.
The event culminated in a screening of Ground Zero Syria, a dramatic film by Robert King featuring unprecedented footage of the brutal conflict in Syria, and an impassioned interview with King by The Times journalist Anthony Loyd that offered some chilling conclusions about the future of the conflict.
Throughout the summer we will be showing a series of films exploring walls, barriers and borders today, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Prior to the screenings, from 5.30 – 7.30pm, the club will be open and serving a Happy Hour menu of sharing platters and summer cocktails.