Letters from Baghdad is the story of a true original — Gertrude Bell — sometimes called the “female Lawrence of Arabia”. Voiced and executive produced by Academy award winning actor Tilda Swinton, the film tells the dramatic story of this British spy, explorer and political powerhouse. Bell traveled widely in Arabia before being recruited by British military intelligence during WWI to help draw the borders of Iraq. This unforgettable documentary takes unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq, while transporting us into a past that is eerily current.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with series producer Norma Percy and producer/director Paul Mitchell, moderated by journalist and author Jonathan Freedland.
In this landmark series by Norma Percy, Brian Lapping and Paul Mitchell, four one-hour programmes capture key moments when policy was made, including contribution from Obama’s Chief of Staff and insiders within the administration.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with executive producer Mark Samels.
Last Days in Vietnam chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon. Approximately 5,000 Americans remained, with roughly 24 hours to get out. Their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends faced certain imprisonment and possible death if they remained behind, yet there was no official evacuation plan in place.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Joshua Oppenheimer via Skype.
In this multi-award winning companion piece to The Act of Killing, filmed before its release, Joshua Oppenheimer further explores the terrible legacy of the Indonesian genocide fifty years ago, this time through the lens of one family.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Dyanna Taylor.
Explore, through her granddaughter’s eyes, the life story of Dorothea Lange, the photographer who captured the iconic image “Migrant Mother.” Never-seen-before photos, film footage, interviews, family memories, and journals reveal the artist who challenged America to know itself.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Alexandre Westphal.
Hutu women as well as men took up arms and went amok killing their neighbours during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In Shades of True eight female perpetrators, who have been imprisoned for taking part in the genocide, recount their experiences with clarity and a shocking lack of sentimentality.
By Olivia Acland On Tuesday 2 June, acclaimed writer and historian William Dalrymple joined an audience at the Frontline Club for a fascinating talk on his latest book, Return of a King – The Battle for Afghanistan, in partnership with the London Press Club. The work is the third volume in a series examining the history of […]
By Heenali Patel On Friday 15 May, the Frontline Club hosted the UK premiere of This Is My Land, followed by an insightful discussion with director Tamara Erde. Screened on the 67th anniversary of Israeli Independence and Nakba Day, the film poses an important and highly relevant question: how does teaching of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affect […]
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Nancy Kates.
Regarding Susan Sontag is an intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Endlessly curious, passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Tamara Erde.
This is My Land takes us inside school classrooms in Israel and the occupied West Bank, to look at how educators teach history in a contested region. Filmed in an observational style, the film presents a nuanced analysis of the core educational institutions in Israel and Palestine. Candid interviews with students reveal shocking discrepancies in perspectives of history, concepts of freedom, and definitions of nationality. The film prompts the question: how long will the past dictate the present?
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director George Carey. In April 1953, George Blake returned to Britain as a national hero, one of a small group of British diplomats who returned alive from three hard years as prisoner of the North Koreans. When the new Queen was crowned a couple of months later, he was among the select few invited to celebrate the day in No. 2 Carlton Gardens, a discreet building overlooking the Mall from where the men who ran Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service were watching the royal procession go by. Little did they know that during his time as a prisoner he had become a Communist and decided to work for the KGB. In The Making of a Traitor, director George Carey speaks to Blake’s close acquaintances, historians and other former spies to chronicle his curious history.
Based on Frantz Fanon’s landmark 1961 book, The Wretched of the Earth, Concerning Violence explores the mechanisms of decolonisation. It is a bold and fresh visual narrative on Africa, told through newly discovered archive material of the struggle for liberation from colonial rule in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Göran Hugo Olsson.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Frontline Club is pleased to be part of a pan-European simultaneous screening of the new documentary 1989 by award-winning director Anders Østergaard. The creative documentary 1989 is a high-politics drama about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Østergaard recreates the events of 1989 and invites the audience into the secret meeting rooms through a mixture of testimonials, archive material, recreation and reconstructed dialogues of the key political players.
For 14 years, Sir Harold Evans was editor of The Sunday Times. Attacking the Devil focuses on his investigation into the drug thalidomide and how he defied the Attorney General and the political establishment to expose the story. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with co-directors Jacqui Morris and David Morris.
In 1945, a team of top filmmakers came together to make a documentary about the horrific findings in the concentration camps. This film would provide lasting, undeniable evidence of the Nazis’ unspeakable crimes. Despite initial support from the British and US governments, the film was never finished. Night Will Fall chronicles the untold story of the film’s history. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director André Singer and producer Sally Angel.
On 8 March 1971, eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. The members of the self-proclaimed Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI picked the lock on the door, took every file in the office, loaded them into suitcases and walked out the front door. Mailed anonymously, these documents started to show up in newsrooms, unleashing fierce debates on whether or not to publish them. Despite demands by the Nixon administration to suppress the story, The Washington Post went to press, uncovering the FBI’s vast and illegal regime of spying and intimidation of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. This screening will be followed by a Q&A via Skype with director Johanna Hamilton.
Three short films explore life on the other side of the Iron Curtain, before the fall of the Berlin Wall:
Academy Award-nominated documentary Rabbit à la Berlin uses the Berlin Wall rabbit population as a metaphor for the huge transition post-communist societies underwent.
Through exceptional and rare footage shot between 10 and 20 October 1989, EXIT shows East German refugees who managed to cross the Polish border in order to reach the West German embassy in Warsaw. They talk openly about life in East Germany, not knowing the world is about to change.
During the communist dictatorship in Romania (1945-1989), thousands of people risked their lives attempting to flee their country, often inventing the most incredible methods to cross the border illegally. Oxygen is a free re-enactment of a real case.
For 12 years, Oleg Klimov documented the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Throughout the 1990s he witnessed almost all the conflicts and ethnic tensions of the region. Personally affected by his experiences as a war photographer and longing for inner peace, Klimov returns to some of the areas he photographed during wartime: Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and Chechnya. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Masha Novikova in person and photographer Oleg Klimov via Skype.
As one of Britain’s most romantic historical figures the story of Lawrence of Arabia is well known, but to what extent do we know the truth of how his actions shaped the region? In his new book Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East, veteran correspondent Scott Anderson cuts through the legend to offer a reassessment of his story and the secret colonialist plots in which he was involved. Anderson will be joining us in conversation with journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue, to share his retelling of Lawrence of Arabia, reflecting on the actions of the past and how they continue to shape the region and its future.
Join us for an evening of short documentaries, from different parts of the world, covering a wide range of topics. Shorts at the Frontline Club showcases moving, striking and funny films, exploring the many different faces of documentary filmmaking.
In the past, the term ‘Here Be Dragons’ was used by cartographers to indicate an unexplored area on a map, in fear of what could lurk there. In his new essay film, Mark Cousins goes on an explorative journey through Albania, interweaving views of the capital Tirana and its inhabitants with old film clips, painting a picture of the political and cultural landscape. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Mark Cousins and producer Don Boyd.
Filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel spent his formative years in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh in Lebanon. Each time he went back to the camp for his summer holidays he kept video diaries. As an adult he returns, challenging his teenage belief that ‘going to Ain el-Helweh is better than going to Disney Land’. A World Not Ours is an intimate, and often humorous, portrait of three generations of exile, based on a wealth of personal recordings, family archives, and historical footage. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Mahdi Fleifel and editor Michael Aaglund.
Director Nicholas Wrathall chronicles Gore Vidal’s rich and multifaceted life through archival footage from his legendary on-air career as well as candid interviews and observational footage captured in his final years. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Nicholas Wrathall.
To mark the Frontline Club’s tenth anniversary, we will be looking back on ten years in documentary filmmaking. Moderated by Hot Docs’ head of programming Charlotte Cook, producer John Battsek, controller of BBC One Charlotte Moore and producer Christopher Hird will be exploring the major developments that have taken place over the past decade.
By George Symonds VHS or Betamax? Is video rental a good idea? Should the public even be allowed to have physical access to films? On Tuesday 3 September, these were some of the era-defining issues raised at the Frontline Club’s screening of Rewind This! Directed by Josh Johnson, Rewind This! beamed the audience into a […]
Pretty Village tells the harrowing story of the 1992 Kevljani massacre and its continuing effect on the lives of survivors. Using home movies and personal testimonies of the villagers, director David Evans visits a pre-war world where Serbs, Croats and Musilms lived in a complex web of mutual support systems and shared values.
This screening will be followed by a debate with director David Evans, protagonist and producer Kemal Pervanic and journalist at ITV News Penny Marshall. Moderated by Ed Vulliamy, writer for The Guardian and The Observer.
This summer Tuesday’s are the day to come to the Frontline Club for our summer season exploring how technological changes shape the way we view and document the world. Tuesday 30 July 2013, 7:00 PM – Side by Side For almost one hundred years there was only one way to make a movie: photochemical film. Over […]
Home video changed the way the world consumed films. For the first time, small independent production companies could operate on an even playing field with the major film studios. Through the rise and fall of VHS, Rewind This! discusses media consumption, zero budget filmmaking, unchecked global piracy and an exploding film industry where everything was possible – developments that laid the foundation for today’s digital culture. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Josh Johnson via Skype.
For almost one hundred years there was only one way to make a movie – photochemical film. Over the last two decades a digital process has emerged to challenge photochemical filmmaking. At a moment when digital and photochemical filmmaking coexist, Side by Side explores what has been gained, what is lost, and what the future might bring.
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw was a despised gift from Stalin and after the fall of communism, some suggested pulling it down. Director Tomasz Wolski takes us on a cinematic journey through what is more than just a building: The Palace of Culture and Science is both a reflection of Poland’s everyday life and its rich history.