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Filmabend : „From Misery to Happiness: On the History of Social Housing and Land Settlement“
August 10, 2015 @ 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Die Filmreihe zu Bodenfrage, Mieterkampf und Selbstversorgung in Stadt und Land wird präsentiert von Florian Wüst.
„Les Saisons de la misere“ von Henri Storck, B 1937 (30`)
„Missing Green“ von Anne Maree Barry, IR 2013 (14`)
„Settlers in England von Ian Nesbitt, UK (32`)
With this selection of three international short films, we look at the struggle against the deprived living conditions of the European working class in the 1930s: the construction of public housing in Belgium and the inception of the Land Settlement Association in England which engaged to re-settle unemployed families, and get them produce their own food. The programme travels from urban to rural life, and connects these histories to the present day by exploring the radical transformation of a famous street and its neighborhood in Dublin and by telling the accounts of the current residents of one such land settlement.
All films in English or with English subtitles.
Les maisons de la misère, Henri Storck, B 1937, 30′
Missing Green, Anne Maree Barry, IR 2013, 14′
Settlers in England, Ian Nesbitt, UK 2015, 32′
Les maisons de la misère (The Houses of Misery)
Henri Storck, B 1937, 30′
In 1933, Henri Storck and Joris Ivens made the fictional documentary Misère au Borinage about the economic decline of one of the best known industrial regions of Wallonia. It left Storck profoundly disturbed by injustice and social poverty. When he was offered a chance to make another such film he undertook an in-depth survey into the working class and shouldered once again his camera as a militant filmmaker. In a plot of Walloon slums he staged characters and situations as examples: the promiscuity of large families, women who die in childbirth, the fear of the bailiffs, the money lenders and the heartless, grasping landlords, the evictions, the children deprived of childhood, the unemployment, the tuberculosis, the impossibility of learning, the solidarity between neighbours. All shots work on intensity, the filling of the frame, which gives the impression of being unable to breathe, of being trapped. In the face of this overflowing misery is the emptiness of the expressions, the absence of emotion. Survival is all. But the message of hope is there, with the destruction of slums and the construction of garden cities surrounded by trees, it leaves one with the impression that man’s dignity has been safeguarded.
Anne Maree Barry, IR 2013, 14′
Missing Green is a poetic journey through Cork Street, Dublin. Anne Maree Barry’s exploratory research involved the role/place of social housing, the perception of Cork Street within the psyche of Dublin city, development and developers, dereliction and regeneration. Chambers and Weaver’s Court, just off Cork Street, is a crucial example in the film. The land where these social housing complexes were once situated is now a field and an allotment. Through conducted interviews with Councilor John Gallagher, architect Gerry Cahill, author and journalist Frank McDonald and sociologist Aileen O’ Gorman the viewer discovers an area in Dublin that has gradually but dramatically transformed in the last 80 years. Combining documentary research with documentary drama – the interviewees become the film’s narrators whilst the camera captures a girl’s journey through the urban landscape, of which they speak.
Settlers in England
Ian Nesbitt, UK 2015, 32′
Settlers in England is a peripheral social history of the Oxcroft Land Settlement near Bolsover, high on a hill in the NorthEast corner of Derbyshire. Between 1934 and 1939, the Land Settlement Association (LSA), a UK Government scheme, established 1,100 smallholdings within 26 settlements across the country, the objective of which was to re-settle unemployed workers and their families from depressed industrial areas, and get them working and producing on the land. The Oxcroft settlement was comprised of 40 plots, each of which was made up of a semidetached cottage and 5 acres of land, including a piggery and greenhouses. Ian Nesbitt’s film examines ideas of food production, environment and community through the eyes of Oxcroft’s current residents, some of whom moved onto the estate at its inception in 1936 as the children of original settlers and have never left. Nesbitt says about the project: “ I have gathered accounts, testimonies, documents and photographs, creating a small archive that tells a story of hard lives, relative poverty, co-operation, and ultimately the nature of happiness. I believe the largely untold story of the wider LSA is an important one to shine a light on that has a resonance for us in these times of anxiety around food production, when we are so completely reliant on the whim of big supermarkets to provide for us, and retain so little connection with the land.“