Undercurrents: The Film Programme
Our new series, Undercurrents, launches with Edition 001 at Corsica Studios, London, on 8 September.
The film screenings will begin from 8pm (BST), and we've curated a selection of shorts from a range of emerging and established directors. Handpicked by the Trippin team, our selection of films zoom in on local figures and cultural traditions around the world. They also dive into some of the issues affecting marginalised communities today, such as gentrification, the distribution of economic resources and social mobility.
Ahead of the event, we've written a guide to the screenings coming up this week, so you know what's on and what to expect. Head here for tickets to Undercurrents and scroll down for the film programme.
Brazil’s Passinho Dancers
“The relationship between funk and favela is love and life.” Clocking in at under two minutes, this short focuses on one particular group performing the Brazilian passinho – a hybridised, unchoreographed dance that mixes elements of samba with breakdancing, capoeira and frevo – against the backdrop of its home: the favelas. Through dialogue and dance, director Jonangelo Molinari and cinematographer Matheus Dafi connect the dots between baile funk, passinho and the working-class neighbourhoods of Brazil.
Darryl Richardson’s 10-minute film Jus Soli examines what it means to be Afro-Mexican in the coastal region of Costa Chica, Oaxaca. Though there are 1.4 million people who identify as Afro-descendant, their ethnicity went unacknowledged by Mexico’s constitution until 2020. Jus Soli translates to ‘right of the soil’, and zooms in on stories of racism and erasure recounted by local figures.
During the filming process, Richardson learnt about the rites and customs of Costa Chica, and saw his own African-American heritage mirrored back. Though the film and multidisciplinary project tells the stories of several locals, Jus Soli also acts as a self-portrait of the director himself.
Written and directed by Rosanna Lee, Parallel follows the experience of one woman who joins her family for dim sum at a local restaurant. The protagonist is of dual heritage and is unable to understand the conversations around her spoken in Cantonese. Instead, she focuses on moments of non-verbal communication and the points of connection they form. The film explores how the protagonist is both a participant and observer during the meal, connected and disconnected at the same time.
In the riveting film Petanque, an architect named Sammy faces the difficult decision of returning to his childhood neighbourhood to replace a football court with an area for petanque. He's told he's lucky to still have a job.
The football court is a meeting ground for youths in the area, and its replacement could catalyse gentrification in the neighbourhood. Petanque mines the emotions and inner turmoil of such a conflict, tackling its nuances and the effects of gentrification. Created by BIPOC filmmakers Taleb Fartous and Tobi Aman Manczak, a recurring theme in their work is the critique of Denmark’s ghetto laws, and how the ongoing erasure of neighbourhoods involves the targeting of immigrant families in particular.
Chantal Adams, Head of Video at NTS, is premiering Special Fisherman at Undercurrents. The near-three-minute short incorporates a number of editing techniques to create a surreal and compelling film that’s rooted to one person’s story. During her travels to Kawe Beach, Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, Adams met the local figure and fisherman Arafat Luka Mshauri. He speaks to Adams about learning Mandarin and his hopes for a brighter future.
“In Tanzania, Kiswahili is the national language – with some knowledge of English – and is an export capital in East Africa attracting many Chinese [people who are] seeking business ventures,” Adams says. “Arafat fell in love with the tones of Mandarin and decided to teach himself the language. Some Tanzanians speak little English, but Arafat is probably the only Tanzanian to speak English with a Mandarin twang.”