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Developing countries at the London Film Festival

I have a feeling that Africa, Asia and Latin America are a diminishing presence in the annual London Film Festival. Here’s a first glance at what’s on offer.
from Daniel Nelson on Sep 16, 2014.

Ending the historical absence of the black presence

“They are here because you were there,” in the words of the late, great sociologist, Stuart Hall.
from Daniel Nelson on Sep 14, 2014.

Recommended event


Covered by OneWorld


From the editor


* As usual, there are plenty of wildlife programmes on TV this week, but there's also a chance to see Wadjda, a feature film made by a Saudi director about a 12-year-old girl in Riyadh who gets her hands on a bicycle. It's a  fun, light, charming story that indirectly tells you more about middle-class Saudi Arabian life than a score of earnest analytical articles.


* This was always going to cause a row: the Barbican is facing criticism over a planned installation (23-27 September) by the white South African playwright Brett Bailey, which features live models including a black man in a cage and a semi-naked black woman with a slave shackle around her neck. Now the Islamic Human Rights Commission has added its voice to the protesters: "While the stated purpose of the exhibition, according to its creator Brett Bailey, is to force western audiences to confront the atrocities of their forefathers, IHRC believes that it objectifies the black models taking part in the same way as the slaves they are said to represent. The exhibition has already been seen in various European capitals amid reports that some visitors have racially abused the actors.


"IHRC believes that the experiences of slavery and racism can be better represented without reproducing the same racism it purports to challenge."


The commission's chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, says: "The Barbican should listen to the voices of those people of colour who are still suffering the indirect consequences of colonialism which are saying that more than highlighting the horrors of slavery this type of re-enaction abuses those actors taking part and simply reproduces the racism of the original human zoos."


*  The V&A museum has three interesting shows about protest: Disobedient Objects, featuring objects from around the world created by grassroots movements as tools of social change; the small but innovative Rapid Response Collecting, in which objects such as Indonesian-made false eyelashes and a pair of Bangladesh-made trousers tell us something about our world today; and  A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution, from the votes for women campaigns of the early 20th century to the Occupy movements,

The Rubbish Collection at the nearby Science Museum is now in its second phase.Having captured every item thrown out by museum staff and visitors over the previous month, artist Joshua Sofaer showcases the value and beauty that can be found in the mountain of waste.


*  Two fascinating theatre productions are promised at the National Theatre for later this year. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by David Hare is based on Katherine Boo's book about a group of Indians in a Mumbai shantytown. Zehrunisa and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house. Sunil, 12 and stunted, wants to eat until he’s as tall as Kalu the thief. Asha seeks to steal government anti-poverty funds to turn herself into a ‘first-class person’, while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum’s first female graduate. But their schemes are fragile; global recession threatens the garbage trade, and another slum dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighbourhood.

The other is Here Lies Love, a musical that traces the astonishing journey of Imelda Marcos, former First Lady of the Philippines, from her meteoric rise to power to descent into infamy and disgrace. The theatre "will be transformed into a pulsating club for an immersive theatrical event which combines heart-pounding beats with adrenaline-fuelled choreography and 360-degree staging." Audiences are advised to dress comfortably and those in the pit performance area will stand and dance with the actors.


* Below, right: A rare chance to see the first film by a Saudi woman, Wadjda, which is on TV this week. It's a delightful tale about a 12-year-old girl who signs up for her school's Quran recitation competition in order to raise money to buy a bicycle. Simple but absorbing. 



Daniel Nelson







11-27 September

Conflict Kitchen, culinary experience combining food from Burma, Jordan and Peru with an opportunity to learn about prospects for peace, Monikers Restaurant, 16 Hoxton Square, N1. Info:


Wednesday 17 September

* Libya: A Failed State?, 7pm, £12.50, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: 7479 8940

* The geotechnical & geo-environmental challenges of fracking in the UK are surmountable - Yes or No?, Zoe Shipton, Robert Jackson, Eric Vaughan, 6-8pm, Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George Street, SW1. Info: 7665 2323/

*  Artraker Awards, Brigadier General Gordon Moulds, awards + opening of the Art of Peace - Travelling Exhibition showcasing 12 artists from 12 countries, 6-9pm, 200 Union Street, SE1 

* Transparency: exchanging Brazilian and British best practices to fight corruption, Gustavo Ungaro, 6.30-8pm, Canning House, 14/15 Belgrave Square, SW1. Info:  7811 5600/


Friday 19 September

* The Process, snapshot of contemporary life inside the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, revealing what the politics mean for those who are waiting for peace + Q&A with director Joshua Baker, 7pm, £10, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: 7479 8940

* Latin America: New Security Configurations in a Strategic Emerging Region, Andrea Oelsner, Rut Diamint, Monica Hirst, 9.30am-6pm, Institute of Latin Aerican Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1


Saturday 20 September

* Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group annual conference, Kjersti Bartos, Fernando Losado, Philip Pearson, launch of third edition of the '1 Million Climate Jobs' booklet plus workshop on 'Students, Environment and Climate Jobs', Skype links with representatives of the Climate Jobs movement in South Africa and US and British trade unionists who will be on the New York "People's Climate March" on 21 September, speaker from the Paris coalition preparing mass action at the UN climate talks in December 2015, midday-5pm, London Metropolitan University Tower Building, Holloway Road. Info:


Saturday 20–Sunday 21 September

* Peace Weekend, fold an origami paper crane to commemorate World Peace Day and join a drop-in discussion for young people, 11.30am-12.30pm and 2.30-3.30pm, free, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, SE1. Info: 7416 5000/


Sunday 21 September

* Climate rally, starting at Temple Place, Victoria Embankment, WC2 at 12.30pm and finishing outside the Houses of Parliament, with a group photo; from 2.30pm, guest speakers and an interactive video installation, ahead of the UN climate change conference in New York. Info: Clinate Coalition


Monday 22 September

* Democracy: Even The Best ideas Can Fail, Francis Fukuyama, David Runciman, 7pm, £30, Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, W1S


Monday 22-Tuesday 23 September

* Arctic sea ice reduction: the evidence, models, and global impacts, The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, SW1. Info: 7451 2500


Tuesday 23 September

* Conflict and Disaster Reporting: Does the Public Still Care?, 7pm, £12.50, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: 

* South Africa's Democracy — Mandela's "Cherished Ideal", Moeletsi Mbeki, 6.30-8.30pm, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, WC2 (in association with the exhibition of the same name, see Exhibitions)

* Financing Africa's Future: infrastructure, investment and opportunity, Donald Kaberuka, Sir Paul Collier, 6.30pm, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, WC2

* Inside Alcatel Lucent, Douglas Coupland, 1pm, free, RSA, 8 John Adam Street, WC2. Info: 7451 6868/


Wednesday 24 September

* Finding the agriculture policy to keep feeding Africa, Anna Locke, Blessings Chinsinga, Hannington Odame, Hussein Mahmoud, Ian Scoones, Jeremy Lind, Jim Sumberg, John Thompson,Naomi Oates, Roger Calow, Ruth Hall, Seth Cook, Steve Wiggins, 9.30am-5pm, free, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300

* Political Order and Political Decay, Francis Fukuyama, 1pm, free, RSA, 8 John Adam Street, WC2. Info: 7451 6868/

* From Al Qaeda to ISIS: Terrorists Tactics, Peter Neumann, Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Patrick Cockburn, Alia Brahimi, 7pm, £12.50, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: 7479 8940

* Ten Facts about Energy and Growth, Michael Greenstone,  6.30pm, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, WC2






Disobedient Objects, exhibition that looks at the role of objects in movements for social change, including banners, changing designs for barricades, political video games, experimental activist bicycles and textiles bearing witness to political murders,  V&A Museum, South Kensington, until 1 February

+ 24 September, lunchtime lecture, 1pm, free

Objects that help change the world


A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution, a century of posters agitating for political change drawn from the V&A collection, including acquisitions gathered from recent outbursts of protest, free, Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, SW5, until 2 November. Info: 7942 2000


Rapid Response Collecting, small, stimulating display of 11 contemporary objects collected in response to major moments in history that touch the worlds of design and manufacturing, Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, SW5, until 15 January.

Printed guns, nude shoes and Indonesian eyelashes


* Black Chronicles II, exhibition exploring black presences in 19th and early 20th century Britain, through the prism of photography – particularly studio portraiture, Rivington Place, EC2, until 29 November. Info: 7749 1240/  Exhibition/ 

+ Ending the historical absence of the black presence 


Some Are Smarter Than Others, Filipino artist Pio Abad on the cultural legacy of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, free, Gasworks, SE11, until 16 November. Info: 7582 6848

+ 1 October, In Conversation, Abad talks about his work, 7pm


Watermark, Edward Burtynsky photographs, which coincides with the release of the film Watermark, Flowers, 21 Cork Street, W2, until 4 October. Info: 7439 7766/


* People in London: One photographer. Five years. The life of a city, exhibition of over 400 photographs and video shorts on the ethnic, social and religious diversity in London by Richard Slater, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7, until 17 October.


Karokoa, Verdon-Roe's photographs of life in Kiribati, free, Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, until 28 September. Info: 7613 7498


South Africa's Democracy — Mandela's "Cherished Ideal", photographs, documents and artefacts, 10am-8pm Monday-Friday, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, WC2, until 26 September. Info: 7849 4909


Whose Gaze Is It Anyway?, exhibition that looks at the history of Arab pop culture through printed matter – posters, notebooks, diaries and book covers, as well as film and video, free, ICA, The Mall, SW1, until 5 October. Info: 


Wetiko, Cowboys And Indigenes, Egyptian artist Nermine Hammam'd exploration of the media manipulation of news, free, Rose ISSA Projects, W1, until 3 October. Info: 7602 7700


* Omer Fast, using carefully edited video footage, Fast examines the conventions of media reportage, storytelling and historical representation, free, Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1, until 30 November. Info: 7887 8888/ 


Bewitched, Bedazzled, Bewildered, Rebecca Campbell's paintings of Indian life, free, Jonathan Cooper, SW10, until 27 September. Info: 7313 6000


* Dust, Nadev Kander's photographs of radioactive cities on the Kazakh-Russian border, free, Flowers Kingsland Road, E2, until 11 October. Info: 7920 7777


Burmese Days, Karl Ingar Roys' video installation on cultural production in Yangon, free, Thursdays and Fridays, John Jones Project Space, N4, until 27 September. Info: 7281 5439


* Re-Imagine: Black Women in Britain, Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm, Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, SW2, free, until 30 November. Info: 3757 8500/


Omar Ba: State of Emergency, solo exhibition by Senegalese artist, Hales Gallery, E1, until 4 October. Info: 7033 1938

London, Sugar & Slavery , permanent gallery at the Museum in Docklands, with new display that gives a snapshot of those who received compensation when slavery was abolished in the 1830s, No 1 Warehouse, E14. Info: 0870 444 38520870 444 3852/ 0870 444 38510870 444


* Mark Veville's Afghanistan photographs, slow motion films and large photographic portraits of young Afghan children and British soldiers, free, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, SE1 until 25 September. Info: 7416 5000/ 


* Empire, Faith and Wire: The Sikhs and World War One, Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, WC2, until 28 September. Info: 7898 4259/ 


Peckham Square Studio, black and white portraits of local residents taken by Eileen Perrier on Peckham Square, free, Peckham Square Studio, until 16 November


* atmosphere: exploring climate science, free, Science Museum, South Kensington. Info: Museum


Atlantic Worlds, transatlantic slave trade gallery, National Maritime Museum, Park Row, SE1. Info: 8858 4422/ 8312 656


Eco Zone Gallery, small gallery devoted to sustainable building products and materials, The Building Centre, Store Street, WC1. Info: 7692 4000/


from 19 September

* The Amahoro Generation: The youth of Rwanda talk peace, exhibition by Carol Allen-Storey thaqt documents stories of young Rwandans born amid the horrors of the genocide, and their hopes for ‘amahoro’ (peace), free, The Slice, Bernie Spain Gardens, Riverside Walkway, by Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, SE1, until 28 September.


Image: The People's Climate March in London on 21 September is timed to coincide with The World Leaders' Climate Summit in New York, where there will be a similar rally 

Climate March




Finding Fela, documentary about the Nigerian star, ICA, The Mall, SW1, until 21 September, Ritzy Brixton 

Search for the singer with death in his pouch


Watermark, spectacular documentary featuring water-related projects around the world, Curzon Victoria, ICA

+ Wateryworld


* Manuscripts Don't Burn, banned Iranian film-maker Mohammad Rasoulof's thriller that expands into a treatise on the nature of free expression and the psychology of all those who try to stifle it, Curzon Soho, until 18 September


Friday 19 September
* The Process, a snapshot of life inside the Israeli–Palestinian conflict + Q&A with director Joshua Baker, 7pm, £10, Frontline 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: 7479 8940


Friday 19-Thursday 25 September

* Safar: The Festival of Popular Arab Cinema, including UK premieres and Arab classics,  Q&As and a day-long forum with significant figures in Arab cinema. Info: Festival

+ 19 September, Factory Girl, drama about a young factory worker who falls in love with the factory's new supervisor +  Around the Pink House, one of the most popular Lebanese films of the late 1990s explores the changing urban landscape of Beirut after the civil war plus director Q&A

+ 20 September, Chaos, Disorder, captures the spirit of an evolving Egypt + director Q&A

+ The Saturday Forum, brings together significant figures in Arab cinema 

+ 21 September, Kit Kat, Egyptian comedy  voted one of the 10 best Arab films of all time

+ 23 September, Salvation Army, semi-autobiographical tale of a graduate navigating the sexual, racial and political intrigue surrounding his arrival in Geneva

+ 24 September, West Beirut, set during the 1975 civil war it is a heart-warming story of two young boys whose world is fuelled by political violence


Saturday 20 September

* B for Boy, superb feature set in contemporary Nigeria about a pregnant, 40 year-old-wife and mother who desperately wants a son, 2pm (plus conversation with Nadia Denton about her new book on Nigerian film-making, 11am), National Film Theatre, Belvedere Road, SE1. Info: 7928 3232

+ It's a boy - or is it?


Sunday 21 September

* Nigeria Through a Lens, selection of documentaries about extraordinary Nigerian artists, including George Osodi: Kings of Nigeria (following acclaimed photographer's pictures of oil spills and traditional monarchs), Emeka Okereke: Invisible Borders (about the founder of a trans-African initiative that unites 10 Nigerian artists on a cross-country road trip), and JD ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Master Photographer, 3.10pm, £6.50, BFI, Belvedere Road, SE1.  Info: 7928 3232

* Mother of George, fascinating feature about a young Nigerian wife living in New York who is driven to despair as she tries for a baby, BFI, Belvedere Road, SE1. Info: 7928 3232

+  It's a boy - or is it?

*  Grass:  A Nation's Battle for Life, 1925 silent documentary that follows a branch of the Bakhtiari tribe of Persia as they and their herds make their seasonal journey to better pastures, plus live music by the Turbans, 7.30pm, £10, Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street, E8. Info:





* Eye of A Needle, the ads describe it as a "provocative, topical and savagely funny ... [that] gets under the skin of a system branded by both Left and Right as ‘not fit for purpose’, £16/£18, previews £10, Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, SE1, until 20 September. Info: 7407 0234

+ What goes on in the eye of the immigration needle


* Albion, new play set in an East End boozer that examines the turbulent rise of the new far right in modern-day Britain:  when it embraces diversity, just how far can the far right go?, Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, W12. Info: 8743 5050


* Third World Bunfight: Macbeth after Verdi, multifaceted, radical work that puts a spotlight on post-colonial Africa, with a reconstructed score sung by a South African ensemble, 7.45pm, The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1, until 20 September. Info: Barbican
+ 17 September, post-show talk with Brett Bailey, Premil Petrovic and members of the company, free to same-day ticket-holders


* The Greene Card: The Unbelievable, Yet Completely True, Story of a Brown Boy in a White World, Sevan Kaloustian takes on racism, £10/£13, The Space, E14, until 20 September. Info: 7515 7799

* Teh Internet is Serious Business, a 16-year-old London schoolboy and an 18-year-old recluse in Shetland meet online, pick a fight with the FBI and change the world forever, Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1, until 25 October
+ Saturday 4 October, Cryptoparty, sharing the art of encryption, 11am, free, Royal Court bar & kitchen


Thursday 18 September

* Bitterenders, inspired by a true story, Hannah Khalil's play is a dark comedy about a family of Palestinians who find themselves forced by a court ruling to share their home with Jewish settlers, preceded with a short reading of new play by Hassan Abdulrazzak, 7.30pm, £8,  The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road, SW5. Info: 73709990


Friday 19-Saturday 20 September

* Enig-mas, inspired by Kazi Nazrul Islam's novel, Kuhelika, and his music and poetry, playwright Raminder Kaur sets this piece in 1930s India and 2000s Britain with a series of incidents inextricably linked through intrigue, sorrow, humour and happiness, 7.30pm, £10/£8, Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road. Info: 7613 7498


Saturday 20 September

* The Rehearsal Room Presents, salon-style night of theatre curated and hosted by Yasmeen Khan, featuring rehearsed readings of new plays, live music, interviews and performances: line up includes an extract from Shoreditch Bitch. Punjabi Boy, by Amman Paul Singh Brar, that takes in the journey of a British Asian man from private school to middle age, looking at how his reactions to prejudice and love will shape his life, 7.45pm, £8/£6, Rich Mix, 35-747 Bethnal Green Road. Info: 7613 7408 


Sunday 21 September

* World Jamboree, Silk Road, Abdelkader Saadoun, Nikki Slade, Yan Yates, Toni Green, Ashley Knight, Sebastian Blake, Namvula, in support of Health Poverty Action’s women’s health programmes in Africa and Myanmar, 6.30pm, £17.50/£14.50/ children £5, including vegetarian buffet, Jewish Museum, Raymond Burton House, Albert Street, NW1. Info: 7840 3760




Monday 15 September

Tuesday 2 September

* Human Planet, adaptation to urban environment, 11.45pm, BBC4

* Hotel India, midnight20, BBC2

* Shared Planet: Ground Nesting Birds, 11am, R4

* Costing the Earth: El Nino - driving the planet's weather, 3.30am, R4

Wednesday 17 September

* Hotel India, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, 8pm, BBC

* The Wonder of Aninmals, elephants' anatomy and physiology, 8.30pm, BBC4

* Costing the Earth: El Nino - driving the planet's weather, 9pm, R4

Thursday 18 September

* Wadjda, delightful feature (written and directed, partly from the back of a van, by a woman, Haifaa al-Mansour) about a girl who commits the highly subversive act of wanting a bicyle, 9pm, Film4

+ A delightful film - from a land with no cinemas

* Crossing Continents: Ivory Coast's School for Husbands, 11am, R4