Copyright ® 2011-13

 Lights, Camera, London! - a new  exhibition I've co-curated at the  London Film Museum, Wellington St.,   Covent Garden - Evening Standard  review:

   This page is about events and

   activities I'm involved in outside   

   regular teaching at Birkbeck. For

   details of recent publications and

   longer-term research projects see

   About Me (if the tab is working).

   You can also follow me on Twitter

   as @ianchris. IC

 Now we know - Vertigo 

topped the 2012 Sight &

Sound Best Films of all

Time poll, held every ten

years, ending Citizen

Kane's 50-year run. A few

more surprises further

down the list too. Read

my commentary in the

September 2012 issue.

 I've edited a new coll-

ection of essays for

Amsterdam University

Press, Audiences,

which surveys the

range of ways film

scholars have con-

ceived and tried to

analyse audiences,

Just published!   

Coming next..

13 Jan - Presenting Murnau's Sunrise at the Uckfield FilmSociety at 8.00.

And well before sunrise, I'm appearing on a number of BBC Local Radio Sunday Breakfast shows to talk about the legacy of Mary Whitehouse's campaign against the BBC broadcasting 'explicit content'

15 Jan - New London Screen Study Collection series, London's Secret Communities, continues with Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol (1948). See below right for full schedule of these free Tuesday screenings at the Birkbeck Cinema at 2.30 pm.

17 Jan - Interval talk in a concert of Polish music by Szymanowski and Lutoslawski on Andrzej Wajda, 'Voice of a Generation', Radio 3, 8.20 pm.

18 Jan - Launch of the London Screen Study Collection as part of Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image, at the Birkbeck Cinema. With Jerry White, Patrick Keiller, William Raban and Laura Mulvey.

23 Jan - Piccadilly (Dupont, 1929) Introducing a screening at the Stratford East Picturehouse, at 6.00, as part of Birkbeck-Picturehouse series 'London's Communities'.

6 Feb - Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960) Another screening at Stratford East Picturehouse in the London's Communities series, 6.00.

17 Feb - Presenting Elvey's restored Life Story of David Lloyd George at the Barbican Cinemas, with accompaniment by the incomparable Neil Brand.

21 Feb - Olomouc Lectures

3 Mar - 'Hollywood in Berlin', talk as part of Weimar series at Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall Fronbt Room, 11.00 am.

11-15 Mar - Olomouc lectures

27 Mar - Presenting Robert Paul films at Bruce Castle Museum, Haringey's local history centre, 6.30 pm

And previously...

17 Dec - Introduced Scorsese's Taxi Driver at BFI Southbank, in superb new 4k scan version, looking and sounding magnificent.

13 Dec - Launch of the book Audiences at EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam, with contributors Raymond Bellour, Torben Grodal and Annie van den Oever. Also a round-table discussion about future trends in media research with speakers from all Dutch Universities.

8 Dec - Cold War Film Fast Forward: a whistle-stop tour around Eastern Bloc cinema of the Cold War era, Southbank Centre, London.

The Fall of Berlin: Chiaureli's fairy-tale of Stalin winning WW2 singlehandedly

6 Dec - More brain stuff... Introduced P&P's immortal A Matter of Life and Death at the very committed ABC Film Society, Abington.

1 Dec - Panel discussion after a screening of Simon Pummel's remarkable exploration of the life and mind of Daniel Schreber, in Shock Head Soul (2011), in which I appear, along with a number of distinguished psychoanalysts. At Cinecity, part of the Brighton Film festival/Cinemas of the Mind, at the University of Brighton.

23-25 Nov - Europa Cinemas 20th anniversary Conference, Paris.

23 Nov - Queen Victoria Superstar! Monarchy and Media at the turn of the 19th century. Talk at SSG Monarchy and Film conference, Senate House, London University

18 Nov - Presented London archive films at the Phoenix East Finchley, as part of the cinema's Heritage Day

9 Nov - launch of my new book Audiences (AUP) in Paris. at a Paris I Conference, 'Direction des Spectateurs', organised by Dominique Chateau, at Cite Universitaire, Paris 14.

2-7 Nov - More lectures at the Palacky University Olomouc: 'Photography wil tell the truth!' and 'Bringing History alive c. 1900: birth of the modern media mashup'.

22-26 Oct - At the Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic, for two opening lectures in a series: 'Then and Now: Mediation, Meaning and the Historical Record'. (below: Bond-like Engineering Faculty - Film is housed in the 18th century Jesuit university building)

20 Oct - Bloomsbury's frustrated love affairs with cinema: screenings of Finding Neverland and Peter Pan (1924) and at the Birkbeck Cinema, the latter packed out - with a well-attended talk in between.

19 Oct - Presented Truffaut's Les 400 coups as part of National Schools Film Week, at the Finchley Phoenix.

12-14 Oct - Europa Cinemas Experts Committee and Board Meeting, Madrid - included a tour of Madrid member cinemas.

2 Oct - launch of the new London on Screen programme at Birkbeck Cinema: Mysteries of London started with Hitchcock's first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

1 Oct - introduced Hitchcock's Under Capricorn - elaborately photo-graphed by the great Jack Cardiff (see above, plus my chapter in BFI's 39 Steps to Hitchcock on H and cinematography) - at BFI Southbank.

29 Sept - A few words about Chris Marker before screening of two rarities A Bientot and 2084, at the Raindance Festival, London

22 Sept - Led a walk round East London film sites as part of the Haggerston 'I Was Here' festival. (Yes, we found the pub where Joe Strummer sang in Aki Kaurismaki's I Hired a Contract Killer, as well as a few other atmospheric locations in and around Columbia Road.)

21 Sept - Introduced Protazanov's Aelita as part of the Cambridge Film Festival.  Open-air screening had to move indoors, but still a capacity crowd for this fascinating insight into the  culture of the early Soviet 20s, fantasy and all...

1 Sept - to Sweden, for a month of teaching audience studies and production design history at Stockholm University

26 Aug - What shaped Alfred Hitchcock? Illustrated talk at the Chichester Film Festival.

12 July - Our Town:  I presented three rare documentaries from Haringey's Bruce Castle collection at Hornsey Library, recently digitised through Film London's Screen Heritageproject. These and many hundreds more local London films can be viewed at the London Screen Study Collection in Birkbeck. Contact


10 July - Hitchcock's Sabotage: last film in the Writing Victorian London series, free at the Birkbeck Cinema. Next series begins 2 Ocober.

9 July - Getting local - a presentation on local archive film for sixth formers, at the first London Metropolitan Archives Summer School.

23-27 June - Europa Cinemas workshop on developing youth audiences for European cinema, at the Cinema Ritrovato festival, Bologna. Also interviewed Thelma Schoonmaker about the restoration of Blimp, and following a screening of David Hinton's wonderful South Bank Show about Michael Powell. And for the festival's series of panels on 'cinephilia', I appeared with Jim Hoberman (see left).

22 June - 'The End of Representation? Beginning with the audience' - keynote lecture at the Second Annual London Film and Media Conference, Logan Hall, Institute of Education.

18-22 June - DOMITOR early cinema studies conference, for the first time in the UK, hosted by Brighton University. My paper on 18 June, was about stage performers as stars of very early synchronised sound film. Overall, conference was a great success, thanks to Frank Gray's discreet but firm hosting.

17 June - Discussion of the current Writing Victorian London film series at Stratford Picturehouse.

14 June - Took part in a Film Education conference at Cinema Farnese in Rome, and helped introduce (with Alberto Moravia's widow) the first Italian screening of Godard's Le Mepris in its original version, with subtitles and Delerue's music - yes, the first, apparently, since 1963!

12 June - Attending launch of independent exhibitors' Manifesto at Watershed, Bristol.

6-8 June - Led a workshop onpromoting specialised cinema today, for Europa Cinemas Mundus, hosted by the Cineteca Nacional, Mexico City, which is now building an impressive multiplex of its own under the inspiring leadership of Paula Atorga. Also managed to visit one of Eisenstein's key locations for Que Viva Mexico in 1931! Watch this space for more...

26 May - Marvellous programme of rare Moholy-Nagy short films as part of the Barbican Bauhaus programme, which was followed by a conversation with his daughter Hattula Moholy-Nagy, and the artist Aura Satz, who performed her Lost Manifesto for a Universal Language.

25 May - In conversation with Thomas Tode, on the Bauhaus legacy in film, as part of the Barbican's Bauhaus exhibition programme.

(below, Guido Seeber's KIPHO (1925)

25 May - Introduced a gloriously restored The Life and Death of Col. Blimp (Powell and Pressburger, 1943) at BFI Southbank.

20 May - Europa Cinemas AGM and exhibitors forum at Cannes, celebrating our 20th anniversary, although sadly without our late President, Claude Miller (see above left). Also a presentation at the UK Pavilion on 22 May based on recent studies of the film audience, including Opening Our Eyes (see above right).

11-15 May - Introduced a British Film Week in Munich, which included Unmade Beds, Nowhere Boy and Slumdog Millionaire.

6 May - Presented a programme of London archive films from the London Screen Study Collection as part of the 2012 Bread and Roses Film Festival in Lambeth, including We Are United, an extract from March to Aldermaston (below), at Bread & Roses Festival

30 Apr - Introduced Alexander Korda's Thief of Bagdad at BFI Southbank for the National Film and Television School's Passport to Cinema series.

25 Apr - Spoke on a British Academy panel about the future of public service broadcasting, with David Elstein and Jean Seaton.

22 Apr-  Gave the Rachael Low Lecture at the British Silents Festival in Cambridge: Britain could make it! Fifteen years of British Silents discoveries, and why we need to dig further into the mysterious 'teens. And Pam Hutchinson picked this up in her Guardian posting on the festival

(below: Elvey's rediscovered Life Story of David Lloyd George)

24 Mar - Took part in a panel on the history of copyright organised by Eric Hoyt at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in Boston.

20 Mar - Plenary talk at the XIX Udine International Film Studies Conference, which posed the question: 'can we teach film?'. My contribution was to reconsider received opinion about how a  film culture emerged in the UK, drawng on research by some of my PhD students at Birkbeck - 'Beyond 'The Film Society: the process of shaping a film culture in Britain in the 1920s'.

17 Mar - Took part in 'War and Film' symposium at St Andrews University. My paper was on 'The Memory of War', taking Truffaut's La Chambre verte (below) and Tavernier's La Vie et rien d'autre as points of reflection.

12 Mar - Introduced Eisenstein's October for NFTS Passport to Cinema series at BFI Southbank.

28 Feb - Chaired New Screen Histories seminar by Peter Kramer at London University School of Advanced Studies: '"The greatest mass murderersince Adolf Hitler": Nuclear War and the Nazi past in DR STRANGELOVE', based on his research in the Kubrick Archive.

26 Feb - Co-hosted Dance Scenes on Sunday #2 with Kiki Gale at Stratford Picturehouse, which had clips from a wide range of dance styles, and featured five shorts commissioned by East London Dance in homage to Merce Cunningham.

14 Feb - Introduced The Red Shoes for the National Film & TV School's Passport to Cinema series at BFI Southbank

25 Jan - hosted a lively seminar by Tim Smith, of Birkbeck's Psychology Dept, on empirical studies of audio and visual cueing in our perception of film - using eye-tracking (below)

23 Jan - Introduced Michael Powell's 1961 The Queen's Guards, made in the aftermath of the Peeping Tom scandal, at BFI Southbank. Massey clan to the fore! (father and son, below)

19 Jan - 'Why can't the English be modern?' - I led a Philosophy Salon discussion at the National Portrait Gallery, amid portraits of Herbert Read, Benjamin Britten and co (seen below, in 1943, with Peter Pears) as part of the NPG's Late Shift programme.

13 Jan - John Martin and the Apocalypse, at Tate Britain. I was talking about the apocalyptic tone of popular visual culture in the early 19c - and Martin's legacy among filmmakers ranging from Cecil B DeMille to George Lucas.


11 Dec - A short memorial talk about Raul Ruiz at Watershed in Bristol, by way of introduction to Mysteries of Lisbon.

9 Dec - Cours d'introduction pour le Forum des Images, Paris et leur cycle Londres, une ville au cinéma. J'ai parlé des 'Rues de Londres' (avec extraits, dont un de Bullet Boy)

3 Dec - Symposium at BFI Southbank on Aleksandr Sokurov -my contribution was 'Sonatas, Elegies, Diaries: scoping Sokurov's non-fiction forms', plus some thoughts about Faust and the 'tetralogyof power'

1-3 Dec - Screen Culture and the Social Question: Poverty on Screen 1880-1914 - a conference at the German Historical Institute in London, organised by Trier University's Screen 1900 Project. I chaired the opening session of this ambitious attempt to span the Magic Lantern and early moving picture periods of screen culture - and contributed to the last session with ideas about placing the lantern and early film in wider histories of both social propaganda and the visual, as well as more on researching social and cultural impact of these media.

27 Nov - Dance Sunday! - dance films co-presented with East London Dance at Stratford Picturehouse. Great fun - and our Bollywood extract, from Farah Khan's Main Hoon Na was the surprise hit of the programme!

23 Nov - Introduced Sokurov's The Stone - in which Chekhov comes back to his old home as a ghost (below); and on 29 Nov introduced Whispering Pages, both at BFI Southbank

6 Nov - London Rediscovered : introduced a programme of London films from the 50s at the Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley, drawn from the recentLSSC dvd

4 Nov - Panel discussion on the recent Polish film The Reverse at the European Psychoanalytic Film Festival, BAFTA, London

2 Nov - Gave the first Peter Morris Memorial lecture at York University, Toronto:Where is 'national cinema' today - and who still needs it?

30 Oct - 'Stratford on Screen' - special archive programme at the Stratford PIcturehouse, as part of a collaboration betweenBirkbeck and PicturehouseCinemas in Stratford - with an extract from Joan Littlewood's Sparrows Can't Sing

29 Oct - Interviewed Aleksandr Sokurov at BFI Southbank to launch the major retrospective of his work that unrolls across November and December, with many previously unseen documentaries and elegies.

29 Oct - 'Screen History: Beyond Cinema' - took part in the Screen Studies Group's Postgraduate Training event at Birkbeck, Researching the New.


27 Oct - Hosted the first in a new series of Screen History seminars at the School of Advanced Studies of London University, with Thomas Elsaesser  speaking about German documentaries of the 1920s and 30s and their problematic status between modernism and propaganda.

24 Oct - Introduced Sokurov's Faust, and its leading actors, at the LFF (see also my article in the December Sight and Sound)

22 Oct - Took part in a symposium on 'Subjectivity and Cinema' with Laura Mulvey, at theSorbonne Pantheon in Paris, to mark the publication of Dominique Chateau's new AUP anthology.

20 Oct - When Image Matters... I talked about portraits of Emma Hamilton, Horatio Nelson and The Duke of Wellington and the origins of celebrity culture in an informal 'Philosophy Salon' at the National Portrait Gallery

14 Oct - Introduced the magnificent restored Melies Trip to the Moon and Rossellini's Machine That Kills Bad People in an archive special at the London FilmFestival

11/12 Oct - London on Screen marked Black History Month with screenings of Horace Ove's pioneering film about Black Londoners, Pressure (1976) at Birkbeck Cinema and Stratford Picturehouse.

7-9 Oct - Europa Cinemas Experts Committee met in Warsaw, where we heard from the Polish Film Institute how they're successfully managing their national cinema - an example of which shows at EPFF on 4 Nov.

18 Sept - North London's early local filmmakers - Paul, Acres etc - as part of the Phoenix Cinema's very successful Open Day, with Gerry Turvey and mein conversation.

20-21 Sep - Spoke at a conference on film education in Miskolc, Hungary, as part of the Miskolc Festival - and visited Emeric Pressburger's birthplace (photos to follow...)

28 Sept - I talked about 'Early Film Stars in Europe' at the Deutsches Filminstitut-Trier University conference, Importing Asta Nielsen, in Frankfurt.


29 Sept - Introduced Marleen Gorris's Mrs Dalloway at Cambridge Arts Cinema, as part of an event on Virginia Woolf and Cinema

30 Sept - Chaired a session at UCL Conference on Surveillance and Cinema, with some great papers on law and film, and on how YouTube is blowing apart courtroom secrecy and decorum.

1 Oct - Took part in BFI Southbank-RHUL conference on Ken Loach, speaking mainly about Land and Freedom.

2-4 Oct - Pordenone Giornatedel cinema muto - showed, among much else, the newly discovered original Soldier's Courtship of 1896 by R W Paul - Britain's first fiction film made for the screen - and full of inventive business by the actors!

16 Sept - Launch of Opening our eyes: how film contributes  to the Culture of the UK, a report I co-authored, published by the BFI and hopefuly feeding into the current re-think of UK film policy. For the report and full data, see 

13 Sept - Launch of the new London's Screen Archives website portal, at the Royal Institution, now viewable at

12 Sept - Took part in a roundtable at the EYE Institute in Amsterdam, to launch Subjectivity, the second book in our new AUP Key Debates series, edited by Dominique Chateau. Next up will be Audiences, ed by yours truly.

2-3 Sept - I led a workshop on attracting youth audiences to arthouse cinema and spoke about film education and exhibition in Europe, at the Japan Community Cinema Association annual conference in Hiroshima. Also visited Europa Cinema members in Tokyo and Kyoto.

17-23 Aug - I was a member of the Blue Chamelon Jury at the Cinema Digital Festival in Seoul, South Korea, where we have our prize to Sanjeewa Pushpakumara's tough and ambitious first feature Flying Fish (Sri Lanka, 2011, below) with a special mention for Xu Tong's equally striking documentary Shattered (China, 2011).

16-17 July - I led two tours of film locations in East London by barge, on the Regent's Canal. Starting near MareStreet Bridge we travelled through cinema history, passing close to some iconic film locations (Alfie, Smashing Time, Dirty Pretty Things, Secrets and Lies), looking back at the image of London's East End on screen, and finishing beside the site of one of Britain's first important film studios. At Gainsborough, Alfred Hitchcock launched his career in the late 20s, Ivor Novello starred as 'The Rat', and some classic WW2 films were made. For highlights of the tour on film, see

13-15 July - Participated in the Re: Enlightenment Project exchange in London, at Senate House and the British Museum. More on this exciting initiative to follow...

2 July - The Second Centenary of Cinema - I spoke at a conference organised by Andrew Shail at Newcastle University on how Italian epics transformed cinema into a popular cultural spectacle between 1912-15.

July-Aug - I advised on films to accompany an exhibition of Australian prints and baskets at the British Museum. This started on with the latest restoration of the 1906 Story of the Kelly Gang (below) accompanied by Tony Richardson's Ned Kelly , and the programmes continued into August.

25-29 June - directed a workshop at the Bologna Cinema Ritrovato festival on 'Competing for Attention andSuccess', for selected exhibitors in the Europa Cinemas netwowork to reflect on the programming and promotion of their cinemas.  Outline at, with a report to follow, including this year's Top Ten films for young audiences. I also introduced Korda's Thief of Bagdad (below) in the Piazza Maggiore, as part of Cinema Ritrovato's Conrad Veidt retrospective. Photo on Facebook!

23 June - Introduced Pt 2 of Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible at BFI Southbank, and showed a fragment of the unmade Part 3

23 June - I convened a panel for the NECS Conference in London, on Cities and Cinema. Speakers were Ranita Chaterjee, Eleni Liarou, Peter Walsh and yrs truly, all talking about aspects of studying the city in/and cinema.

20 June - 'The Cultural Impact of Cinema' - took part in a seminar at the Irish Film Centre, sponsored by the Irish Film Board and BFI, based on Stories We Tell Ourselves.

9-10 June - Screenwriting for 3D cinema - I introduced the history of stereoscopy in a round table at the Monte Carlo Television Festival, along with screenwriter Michael Eaton.

27 May - Making Strange - Symposium on the legacy of Russian Formalism's ostranenie for film theory and the arts. Organised by the Dept of History of Art and Screen Media, at Birkbeck as part of Arts Week. Other speakers included Annie van der Oever (Groningen University), William Rowe (Birkbeck).

26 May - Talk on 'Film and 21st Century diplomacy', at Columbia University's Reid Hall, Paris

16 May - 'Truth or Dare: dilemmas for documentary', moderated a discussion at the UK Pavilion, Cannes Film Festival

14 May - Europa Cinemas AGM in Cannes: news about all our activities and initiatives - including this year's Bologna Workshop on Youth Audiences.

19 April -  'Content for the Online World': I took part in a panel with this title at the Conference on the Future of the Audiovisual Industry in Budapest, organised by the Ministry for National Development, to mark Hungary's presidency of the EU. Fellow panelists included Istvan Szabo and Peter De Maegd, and I tried to connect the on-line world with that of cinemas and audiences (in a EuropaCinemas sort of way...)

30 Mar - Artists Moving Image Network: Symposium on Cognitive Psychological and Neuroscientific approaches to studying film reception at Chelsea College of Art, with Murray Smith, Tim Smith, Steven Hinde  (see 19 Jan below)

29 Mar -  London Screen Study Collection Workshop on Programming and Presenting London Archive Films

Organised by the LSSC at Birkbeck as part of DFAF project. See details on London Screen History tab and above. This was followed by launch of London Rediscovered, a new DVD of London films from the 1950s.

25-26 Mar - 'Twentieth Century Girls on Screen - Three Case Studies in Modernizing Fairy Tales'. I was talking about the arc from  Powell/ Pressburger to Neil Jordan and Lars Von Trier,

at a York University conference on Myths and Fairy Tales. 

Below: Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes (1948)

18 Mar - 'Ancient Rome in London: Classical Subjects in Cinema's Expansion after 1910'. I gave a talk at an international conference on The Ancient World in Silent Cinema, at the Humboldt University, Berlin, in assoc. with Bristol University.

17 Mar - I was recalling Jack Cardiff and introducing Craig McCall's documentary Cameraman at Egerton Film Society in Kent.

13 Mar - 'Beyond the Screen' - Igave a talk at the Fulldome conference in Birmingham's Thinktank Science Museum about the history of 'thinking beyond the screen', from the 18c  Phantasmagoria, to proposals to modify the standard cinema screen by Eisenstein and Powell, up to the success of 3Dtoday.

28 Feb - took part in a useful conference organised by Film Education at Europe House on getting more European films shown in the UK, through education iniatives, film societies - and, yes, even cinemas!  

18 Feb - 'Adventures in the Hit Parade: on-line archives' -  I contributed to a symposium on Archives, Museums, Media organised by Dept of History of Art and Screen Media, Birkbeck. G04, 43 Gordon Sq

Feb - I didn't take part in the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, as a small personal gesture of support for the jailed Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. Panahi (below)i, director of such outstanding Iranian films as The White Balloon, The Circle, Crimson Gold and Offside, has been jailed for six years and forbidden to do any kind of film work for 20 years. What kind of  'justice' is this?

See reports in The Guardian and and letters; and (despite the bizarre heading) my letter at

2 Feb - Beyond the Box-Office in Bristol, at Watershed MediaCentre: took part in a debateabout how England, and especially the South-West, has been represented on screen - from Lorna Doone to Tamara Drewe, via Gone to Earth, Straw Dogs, Jane Austen, Hot Fuzz, etc...

25 Jan - 'Illuminating Manuscripts: how graphic novels challenge the Gutenberg paradigm'. I spoke at the comparative  literature conference 'Oltre la Pagina: Il Testo Letterario e le sue metamorfosi nell’età dell’immagine' at Universita degli  Studi, Roma Tre (below: Raymond Briggs' Ethel and Ernest, Guido Crepax's Valentina; above: West Country  modern and Hardy updated in Tamara Drewe)

23 Jan - I took part in adiscussion about the future of film heritage at the Premiers Plans festival in Angers, with Olivier Assayas, Serge Toubiana of the Cinematheque Francaise and other French contributors.[Below: why haven't we seen more of the Lumiere films since theirvery successful restoration in 1995?]

19 Jan - Artists Moving Image Research Network first symposium at Chelsea  College of Art. I talked about the fear of losing film's 'indexicality' in the transition from analogue to digital, and asked how this related to the long history of  concern about film's 'specificity'. [Below: The Fall of the House of Usher, 1928. Jean Epstein wrote extensively about the specificity of film and demonstrated his ideas on screen]

7 Jan - Beyond the Box-Office in York - one of the UK Film Council's series of regional debates about the cultural impact of British cinema. How has the North of England been represented on screen? - with Estelle Morris and producer Andy Harries (The Damned United, Zen, The Queen etc) at the splendid new Dept of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York.


26 Nov -  'How alternative is "Alternative Content" in cinema programming?':  paper at a symposium on the history of film exhibition at the University of Utrecht

19-21 Nov - Took part in a opening-day panel on 'How can Film Theatres Appeal to the Web Generation' at the Europa Cinemas Annual Conference in Paris. I also reported on this year's Bologna Workshop on attracting youth audiences to European cinema. Conference report at

15 Nov - Helped to launch '3D Week' at Bournemouth  Media Academy, with a talk on the first century of stereoscopy - and why it might take off this time!

12 Nov - launch of a new book series I'm co-editing for AUP at  the EYE Instituut in Amsterdam: the first book is Ostrannanie: On 'Strangeness' and the Moving Image, ed Annie van den Oever. See

11 Nov - Took part in at a symposium on Archiving in the Digital Era, at the National Library of Sweden, co-organised by the University of Stockholm (where I also discovered how successful Robert Paul's films were in Stockholm in the summer of 1897! - see About Me tab)

5 Nov - Introduced a 50th anniversary screening of Powell's Peeping Tom with Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker at BAFTA. See also new Powell DVD releases on About Me tab.

5 Nov - Spoke at a symposium in honour of the Russian film critic Maya Turovskaya, at Trinity College, Cambridge (see her book, Tarkovsky: Cinema as Poetry, which I edited in 1989). A recent reference to Turovskaya's work appearsin John Riley's article

4 Nov - 'Before the Myth' - I was talking about the cultural and industrial background to Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin at a University of Essex Film Studies seminar.

31 Oct - Took part in a discussion on music and silent film after Hitchcock's Blackmail at the Barbican, with Neil Brand's fine new score played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Timothy Brock.

27 Oct - Copyrights and Wrongs -  I co-organised and chaired a symposium for the British Academy and LCACE, at the Royal Society. MP3 audiorecording now available at

21 Oct - 'Something Stirring in the Stack: Why Filmmakers Enter the Library'. I gave the annual Holden Lecture on behalf of the Friends of Senate House Library, University of London - which included paying homage to the lasting association of Ghostbusters with the NYPL: now also a videogame (below).



My commentary on the 2012 Sight & Sound Ten Best poll - at

Bologna 2012: Cinema Ritrovato debates Cinephilia - my conversation with Jim Hoberman is online, at


Barbican Gallery: Bauhaus: Art as Life - Screentalk with Aura Satz, Hattula Maholy-Nagy, 21 June 2012

Claude Miller, the French director who was also founding President of Europa Cinemas, has died. I added to the Guardian obituary on-line:

'When Noel met David' - Essay for the Criterion box set of Lean-Coward films, March 2012

Report by Pam Hutchinson on the British Silents Festival in Cambridge, mentioning my Rachael Low lecture on the 'teens - 'Britain could make it!'

Following Wikipedia's day of protest against new US legislation that could damage the freedom of the internet, I wrote an 'op-ed' piece for the British Academy's Public Policy web pages - viewable at 

Part of my conversation with Aleksandr Sokurov at BFI Southbank in October 2011 online at

My report on the 5th Cinema Digital Festival in Seoul, South Korea, was in Sight & Sound online at festivals/cindi-2011.php Also articles on the 'long history' of 3D in the November print edition of S&S; on Sokurov's Faust in the December issue.

Interview with Alexei Popogrebsky after the screening of How I Ended Last Summer at BFI Southbank

I interviewed the Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky for Open Democracy, and the result is now on-line at

On the screen

SHOCK HEAD SOUL I make several brief appearances in Simon Pummell's highly original study of the German jurist Daniel Schreber, subject of one of Freud's celebrated analyses

CAMERAMAN Fifteen years ago, Craig McCall filmed me (in Martin Scorsese's viewing theatre) for his documentary about Jack Cardiff, now triumphantly finished and still showing internationally and in the UK after its 2010 Cannes premiere. For screenings, see

On the box



24 Dec - BBC4 Timewatch on Epics! A supporting role among a cast of - well - dozens, discussing mainly the golden years of the Ancient World epic in the 50s and 60s (although with a flash forward to Mongol and Avatar)


Walking with dinosaurs... I had a bit part in BBC 4's survey of dinosaurs on screen: Rex Appeal


21 Aug- 11 Sept: BBC4's  The Story of British Pathe had contributions from me, and lots of great archive.


28 Feb - I commented on the Academy Awards, and what they mean for British cinema, on BBC World

Recent radio pieces

Reviewed the disappointing Gangster Squad and discussed what gangster movies tell us about different societies. Night Waves, Radio 3, 7 Jan




Reviewed Tarkovsky archive material bring auctioned at Sothebys, in conversation with Alexei Popogrebsky. Night Waves, BBC Radio 3, 27 Nov


Talking about Ealing's 'dark side', in It Always Rans on Sunday, on The Film Programme, BBC Radio 4, 1 Nov.


Guest on Michel Ciment's film programme on France Culture, from the Bologna Cinema Ritrovato Festival, tx 1 July


You and Yours special on the cost and value of British Cinema (with Michael Grade, Tim Richards, Amanda Neville, and others) on BBC Radio 4, 4 June


Reviewed Nuri Bilge Ceylan's mesmerising Once Upon a Time in Anatolia on Radio Three's Night Waves on 21 March


Cinema and that vertiginous feeling - interview for a Front Row piece prompted by Man on a Ledge.


Contributed to an obituary of Theo Angelopoulos on Radio Four's Last Word.


16 Jan - Reviewed Ralph Fiennes' highly effective Coriolanus on Radio Three's Night Waves, and took part in discussion of the new Film Policy Review with Chris Smith

29 Dec/1 Jan - I helped to play the old year out and the new in on Radio Four's Film Programme, talking about what 'silent cinema' means today, with Maestro Neil Brand in the studio to illustrate effects.


7 Dec - Reviewed Raul Ruiz's haunting and magical Mysteries of Lisbon on Night Waves.


12 Oct - reviewed Danfung Dennis's Afghan doc To Hell and Back Again on Radio Three's Nightwaves


9 Sept - Reviewed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for Radio Four's Film Programme


24 June - Obituary on Gunnar Fischer for Radio Four's The Last Word.


23 May - Night Waves, Radio 3: I reviewed Martin Scorsese's new documentary on Elia Kazan


22 May - BBC World Service: I talked about the Cannes Palme d'or winner, Terrence Malick's Tree of Life


20 May - The Film Programme, Radio Four: I reviewed Karel Reisz's Isadora, newly reissued on DVD

In print

¶ '"Suitable Music": Accompaniment Practice in Early London Screen Exhibition from R. W. Paul to the Picture Palaces', in Julie Brown and Annette Davison, eds, The Sounds of the Silents in Britain, Oxford University Press, 2012

¶ 'Crafting Worlds: the changing role of the production designer', chapter in Framing Film: Cinema and the visual arts, ed. Steven Allen and Laura Hubner, Intellect, 2012)

¶ 'Hitchcock and cinematography', in 39 Steps to the Genius of Hitchcock (BFI Publishing, 2012)

¶ 'A disturbing presence? Scenes from the history of film in the museum', in Angela Dalle Vacche, ed. Film, Art, New Media: Museum without Walls?(Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

¶ 'What is a Picture? Film as defined in British law before 1910', chapter in Beyond the Screen: Institutions, Networks and Publics of Early Cinema (Libbey, 2012). Proceedings of 2010 Domitor conference.

'Cinema has not yet been invented' - a condensed version of my 2006 Cambridge Slade Lectures, in The International Journey of Screendance, vol 2, Spring 2012

Letter in The Guardian on 2 May pointing out that Charlie Booker's excellent idea about eras being remembered through the limitations of their media unfortunately recycled myths about speeded-up film from the 20s and 'lush Eastmancolor'

Letter in the Guardian Review 25 Feb on 'Dickens beyond the novels', defending screen versions against the presumption that print (or even radio) is always best. Dickens was a multimedia author bridging the old (melodrama) and the new (serials, lantern slides) Victorian media.

'"The Captains and the Kings depart": Imperial Departures and Arrivals in Early Cinema', chapter in Lee Grieveson and Colin MacCabe's new collection Empire and Film (Palgrave, 2011)

Is it too late to save 3D? See my article in the November issue of Sight and Sound - also an article about Scorsese's Hugo and its presentation of Melies in the January 2012 issue

Catalogue entries for the Pordenone Giornate del Cinema Muto on Robert Paul's newly restored A Soldier's Courtship (1896); and for the Telluride Festival on Vasily Shukshin's Pechki-lavochki (Happy Go Lucky, 1972); and for the London Film Festival on Sokurov's Faust.

I reviewed Patrick Russell's and James Piers Taylor's excellent Shadows of Progress, on British post-war documentary, in the March issue of Sight & Sound.

I've written about Patrick Keiller's installation, The City of the Future, in the new BFI Gallery Book

My chapter, 'Knight's Moves: Brecht and Russian Formalism in Britain in the 1970s', appeared in Ostranennie: On 'Strangeness' and the Moving Image, ed. Annie van den Oever, Amsterdam University Press, 2010 [that double nn is deliberate, in case you wonder... all explained in Annie's introduction]. A Symposium based on themes in the book formed part of Birkbeck's Arts Week on Friday 28 May.

Events, links and websites

London on Screen 2013

London's Secret Communities

Invisible to the bustling crowds of workers and tourists, hidden behind closed doors and linked by clandestine networks: London has always been a place of secret communities. Whether these are political, religious, or more commonly sexual and criminal, they have provided fertile subjects for filmmakers. Taking our cue from two unfairly neglected postwar films, Dickinson’s political thriller Secret People and Reed’s The Fallen Idol, set in the closed world of an embassy, this series explores five decades of secretive London communities and their occasional emergence into daylight or notoriety.

8 Jan    Secret People (Thorold Dickinson, 1951)

In the tradition of Hitchcock’s London thrillers, two refugee sisters are drawn into a bomb plot.

15 Jan  The Fallen Idol (Carol Reed, 1948)

A young boy living is caught up in adult scheming after a death in a Belgravia embassy.

22 Jan  Secret City (Lee Salter, Michael Chanan, 2012) A timely new investigation of the power wielded by the Corporation of London, introduced by the director, Michael Chanan.

29 Jan  Sapphire (Basil Dearden, 1959) A pregnant girl’s murder exposes racial prejudice in 1950s London, not least among the police.

5 Feb    Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Bryan Forbes, 1964) In the seedy world of spiritualism, a medium organises a kidnap to plots to prove her powers.

12 Feb  The Small World of Sammy Lee (Ken Hughes, 1963) Soho’s underworld is the setting for a strip-club manager’s desperate battle against time.

19 Feb  Victim (Basil Dearden, 1961)

A barrister tackles the blackmailers who prey on gay men, exposing his own homosexuality.

26 Feb  Scandal (Michael Caton-Jones, 1989)

The 1963 Profumo affair revealed a hedonistic party culture that threatened the government.


5 Mar    The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992)

On the run in London, a former Irish terrorist enters a world of ambiguous sexuality.

12 Mar  Stella Does Tricks (Coky Giedroyc, 1996)

A young Glaswegian woman trapped in King’s Cross prostitution tries to escape.

19 Mar  Beautiful People (Jasmin Dizdar, 1999)

Balkan war refugees in conflict in London, where international football passions are also running high.


Mysteries of London

2 Oct The Man Who Knew Too Much (Hitchcock, 1934)

9 Oct  Contraband (Michael Powell, 1940)

16 Oct The Miinistry of Fear (Fritz Lang, 1944)

23 Oct The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (Terence Fisher, 1960)

30 Oct Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni,1966)

6 Nov  Secret Ceremony (Joseph Losey, 1968)

13 Nov The Abominable Dr Phibes (Anton Fuest, 1971)

20 Nov Death Line (Gary Sherman, 1973)

27 Nov tbc

Dickens's London

To celebrate Charles Dickens’s bicententenary, a selection of the film adaptations that have used – or more often recreated – the city that fed the novelist’s imagination. As well as many of the classic adapt-ations, this series includes rare screenings of the earliest feature-length Dickens film, Thomas Bentley’s 1913 David Copperfield, largely filmed at the novel’s locations, and of Christine Edzard’s mammoth and meticulous Little Dorrit, which will be shown over two consecutive weeks. On 14 Feb, William Raban will introduce his film inspired by Dickens’s night walks through London, made for the current Museum of London exhibition, accompanied by earlier films about Dickens’s London.

10 Jan  Great Expectations (David Lean, 1946) with John Mills, Valerie Hobson

17 Jan  The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleb

y (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1947)

24 Jan  Oliver Twist (David Lean, 1948) with John Howard Davis, Robert Newton

31 Jan  David Copperfield (Thomas Bentley, 1913) accompanied by Stephen Horne

7 Feb A Tale of Two Cities (Ralph Thomas, 1958) with Dirk Bogarde, Dorothy Tutin

14 Feb The Houseless Shadow (William Raban, 2011); with Dickens’s London (1924)

21 Feb Little Dorrit (Christine Edzard, 1988) Pt 1: Nobody’s Fault with Derek Jacobi

28 Feb Little Dorrit Pt 2: Little Dorrit’s Story with Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood

6 Mar Scrooge (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1951)    with Alastair Sim, Jack Warner

13 Mar David Copperfield (George Cukor, 1935) with Freddie Bartholomew, W. C. Fields

20 Mar  Oliver! (Carol Reed, 1968) with Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Shani Wallis

All screenings in the Birkbeck Cinema at 2.30pm. Another bicentenary series, ‘Not Strictly Dickens’, runs at the Stratford Picturehouse on Wednesday afternoons at 4.00, starting on 11 Jan with A Christmas Carol (Robert Zemeckis, 2009) with Jim Carrey. 

Local London ran Oct - Dec 2011

4 Oct      London River (Rachid Bouchareb, 2009) + archive film of Hornsey. With Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kuyaté. Two strangers to London search for their children in the aftermath of 7/7 in this powerful  plea for understanding

11 Oct    Pressure (Horace Ove, 1976) +LSSC 'open hour'. With Herbert Norville, Oscar James, Norman Beaton A pioneering film about the pressures and choices facing Black youth, set in Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill

18 Oct   Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972) + archive film of Covent Garden and LSSC ‘open hour’.With Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Anna Massie. Hitchcock’s macabre return to his native London, where the necktie killer strikes in Covent Garden’s market

25 Oct  Real Money (Ron Peck, 1996) +  Exploring the East End on film – introduced by  Ron Peck.  An intimate account of the shadowy world where East End boxing and crime meet, acted by young boxers.

1 Nov     The Bells Go Down (Basil Dearden, 1943) With Tommy Trinder, James Mason, Mervyn Johns

Ealing Studios’ wartime tribute to the Auxiliary Fire Service, as the Blitz hit the East End

8 Nov     Bullet Boy (Saul Dibb, 2004). With Ashley Walters, Luke Fraser, Claire Perkins

Filmed in Hackney’s council estates, Saul Dibb’s debut feature explres the fascination of gun culture.

15 Nov   Up the Junction (Peter Collinson, 1968)  With Suzy Kendall, Denis Waterman, Maureen Lipman

Nell Dunn’s exposé of the underside of Swinging London in a well-observed Battersea

22 Nov   Moon Over the Alley (Despins/Dumaresque, 1975) With Sean Caffrey, Debbie Evans

Future stunt-star Debbie Evans made her debut in this off-beat musical set in Notting Hill.

29 Nov  Breaking and Entering (Anthony Minghella, 2006)  With Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright

Burglary leads to romance and new relationships in a multicultural Kings Cross

6 Dec  It Always Rains on Sundays (Robert Hamer, 1947) With Googie Withers, John McCallum

Great British film noir, with an escaped convict returning to his old East End manor and his former love

13 Dec   Secrets and Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996) With Timothy Spall, Brenda  Blethyn. Between Bethnal Green and Southgate, parallel lives begin to converge in an uplifting drama.

4 Oct  London River (Romain Bouchareb, 2009)

The London Screen Study Collection Workshop on Programming and Presenting London Archive Film took place at Birkbeck on Tue 27 March, followed by the launch of our 1950s London DVD

The Summer London on Screen series was Royal London

3 May   The Young Victoria (2009, Jean-Marc Valée) Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend

10 May Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles) Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau

17 May Richard III (Richard Lonraine) Ian McKellen, Annette Bening

24 May Elizabeth (1998, Shekhar Kapur) Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, MAL 532

31 May To Kill a King (2003, Mike Barker) Rupert Everett, Tim Roth, MAL 421

7 June Nell Gwyn (1934, Herbert Wilcox) Anna Neagle, Cedrick Hardwicke, B34

14 June The Madness of King George (1994, Nicholas Hytner) Nigel Hawthorne, B34

21 June The Prince and the Showgirl (1957, Laurence Olivier) Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, B34

28 June Leo the Last (1970, John Boorman) Marcello Mastroianni, Billie Whitelaw, B34 

5 July The Queen (2006, Stephen Frears) Helen Miren, Michael Sheen   


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The London Screen Study Centre's Spring term series was London Laughs

11 Jan   The Knack... and How to Get It (1965, Dick

                Lester) Rita Tushingham, Ray Brooks

18 Jan   Major Barbara (1941, Gabriel Pascal)

                Wendy Hiller, Rex Harrison

25 Jan  Drole de Drame (1936, Marcel Carne)

            Louis Jouvet, Francoise Rosay

1 Feb     Passport to Pimlico (1949, Henry

               Cornelius) Stanley Holloway, Betty Warren

8 Feb    The Lavender Hill Mob (1951, Charles

                Crichton) Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway

15 Feb   A Kid for Two Farthings (1955, Carol

                Reed) Celia Johnson, David Kossoff

22 Feb   The Ladykillers (1955, Alexander Macken-

                drick)  Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker   


1 Mar     Black Joy (1977, Anthony Simmons)

               Norman Beaton, Floella Benjamin

8 Mar     A Fish Called Wanda (1988, Charles

               Crichton) John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis

15 Mar   Riff-Raff (1991, Ken Loach) Robert Carlyle,

                Ricky Tomlinson, Emer McCourt

22 Mar   Bend It Like Beckham (2002, Gurinder 

               Chadha) Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley

Free, 2.30pm, Tuesdays, Birkbeck Malet Street, London WC1, in B 34

See below for recent programmes in this series

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Victorian 3D!

During Bournemouth Media Academy's 3D week, in Nov 2010, I was talking about  the success of stereoscopy in the1860s and how film pioneers from Lumiere to Eisenstein always believed that cinema would eventually be in 3D

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Rethinking Media Archivism - an international workshop at the National Library of Sweden, 9-11 Nov 2010

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London on Screen - past programmes

Autumn Term, 2010

Surviving London

A season of films about the experience of learning how to survive in London, and succeeding or failing. This is perhaps the archetypal 'London story', from the tale of Dick Whittington's success to the many stories of those who are defeated by London's challenge and temptations. This is also a story of London becoming increasingly multiethnic. And the films selected span the revival of British cinema in the 1930s, the 'new wave' of the 60s, and the growing importance of television in supporting British filmmaking.

12/10 Great Expectations (David Lean, 1946) John Mills, Alec Guinness

19/10 Evergreen (Victor Saville, 1934) Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale

26/10 Darling (John Schlesinger, 1965) Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde

2/11 Georgy Girl (Silvia Nazzarino, 1966) Lynn Redgrave, James Mason

9/11 Cathy Come Home (Ken Loach, 1966), Carol White, Ray Brooks

16/11 Bronco Bullfrog (Barney Platts-Mills, 1969) Del Walker, Sam Shepherd

23/11 Bleak Moments (Mike Leigh, 1971) replaced Leo the Last, previously advertised.

30/11 Sparrows Can't Sing (Joan Littlewood, 1963) replaced My Beautiful Laundrette, previously advertised

7/12 Safe (Antonia Bird, 1993) Aidan Gillen, Kate Hardie, Robert Carlyle

14/12 Brick Lane (Sarah Gavron, 2007) Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik

And previously -


A discussion on theatre and cinema during WW2 inspired by the revival of Rattigan's Flare Path (Night Waves, Radio 3, 9 Mar); a review of True Grit on Nightwaves, 9 Feb, and a double obituary for Maria Schneider and Lena Nyman on Last Word, Radio Four, 11 Feb.


18 Jan 2011 - BBC Radio Four's Film Season kicked off with the first of two programmes about early cinema history: Hollywood The Prequel and, on 25 Jan, The Sequel. I popped up in both, and also in other programmes in this season, on Exploding Cinema, Pocket Cinema, Secret Cinema, and on filmgoing round the world. more info at


Winter - Spring 2013 

Publications, Media

online - screen - television - radio - print