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Looking outside and looking back in the same moment; the collision of memory and reluctance.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1980 7 mins


Looking outside and looking back in the same moment; the collision of memory and reluctance. In Returning Susan Stein achieves a simultaneous sense of identification and displacement by filming from the ‘inside out’ – a subjective camera places us inside a house, behind a door, peering through blinds – and from the ‘outside in’ through a voice-over whose broken streams of memory describes ‘her’: “Fragments – she arranged them as moments to be watched.” Filmed in black and white, it is though we were invited into the shadowy area of our own fragmentation, our own sense of stopping and starting.

Founded in 1966, the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative started life at Better Books, a counter-culture bookshop on Charing Cross Road, where a group led by poet Bob Cobbing and filmmakers Stephen Dwoskin and Jeff Keen met to screen films. Initially inspired by the activities of the New American Cinema Group in New York, the London Co-op grew into a pioneering organisation that incorporated a film workshop, cinema space and distribution office. During its four-decade history, the Co-op played a crucial role in establishing film as an art form in the UK and participated in a vibrant international film scene. This BFI Player collection brings together new scans of films distributed by and/or produced at the London Co-op. Although produced at the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, this film was distributed by Circles – the first women artists' film and video distribution organisation in Britain. Circles was founded in 1979 by a group of filmmakers including Lis Rhodes, Jo Davis, Felicity Sparrow and Annabel Nicolson, many of whom had worked at the Co-op. Their work continues today through Cinenova, formed in 1991 from the merger of Circles and another feminist distributor, Cinema of Women.