Anthology Film Archives


June 7 – June 11


Anthology welcomes UK filmmaker William Raban for a comprehensive survey of his work over the past 50 years, encompassing everything from his early structuralist and multi-screen films to his more recent politically engaged meditations on matters social, economic, and ecological, and showcasing in particular his extraordinary feature-length film 72-82 (2014), which shines a spotlight on a particularly fertile and fascinating period of London’s cultural scene.

Beginning his creative life as a painter and artist, Raban began producing short films in the 1970s, most of them reflecting the structuralist approach that was then becoming a dominant mode within avant-garde cinema, as well as exploring the possibilities of multiple-projector installations and other forms of expanded cinema. These frankly experimental works, as well as Raban’s role in managing the London Film-Makers’ Coop, established him as a key member of the UK avant-garde film scene. Over the years, however, Raban’s work has changed course – the trajectory of his filmmaking practice has been quite unusual among his peers in moving from unmistakably experimental techniques to a distinctly different and arguably more widely accessible mode. Raban’s later works demonstrate an explicit concern with English society, politics, and urban development that stand in striking contrast to the political disengagement of so much of structuralist cinema. Raban’s films of the 1990s and 2000s are consistently preoccupied by the transformations that have befallen English society over the past quarter century, and on the way they have manifested themselves in London’s skyline.

Functioning as a kind of bridge between the different chapters of Raban’s career, 72-82 chronicles the first decade of the groundbreaking London arts organization Acme, which played a crucial role in London’s art world in the 1970s. 72-82 is a portrait of an extraordinary era (and of a group of artists who, by all appearances, deserve to be much better known on this side of the Atlantic), made by a filmmaker with a profound understanding of his subject matter.

Special thanks to London College of Communication (LCC), where Raban is Professor of Film.

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