Cinema was borne out of the tension between that which is visible, and that which – however lived, however felt – struggles to find material form or expression. This realm of virtuality – the “real but not actual, ideal but not abstract” – carries the possibilities of both oppression and freedom, resistance and violence, fear and revolution. Ghosts & Apparitions is the exploration of this wonderful, interstitial space, and of the capacities of film to expand our notions and experiences of reality. Past and present images gather on the screen, and build a possible map of our times: one which is complex, multifaceted, and which can’t be grasped or parsed through fixed codes and norms. With films ranging from 1945 to 2021, from 23 countries, this is a journey full of surprises, that encourages us to reflect on the richness and complexity of our multiple existences.
The strand also includes a special preview of a major BFI project, Reel Women / Real Lives: Britain’s Female Documentary Filmmakers, celebrating pioneering British women documentary filmmakers.