The Stuart Hall Project Screen 4 articles

The Stuart Hall Project


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  • Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of The Stuart Hall Project is the way it shows the changing social landscape of Britain through Hall’s eyes. With an enormous wealth of archive footage intelligently utilised, Akomfrah has assembled an evocative look at various aspects of British life over the course of 50 years, with Hall acting as a particularly erudite guide.

  • An unapologetically heady archival pastiche on the life and mind of the hugely influential cultural theorist and public intellectual Stuart Hall, the film uses musical selections by Hall favorite Miles Davis as a structuring device as well as a thematic one. Songs are matched to developments in Hall’s thinking, but in turn Akomfrah edits in answer to, and at the pace of the music—form and subject are in continuous, committed dialogue.

  • Simultaneously elegiac and light, dense and accessible, The Stuart Hall Project is a singular work with a built-in replay value... There is also the sense that it fits into a broader developing trend within contemporary non-fiction filmmaking which exhibits what we might dub a Janus-inflected ‘recycling aesthetic’: it uses the past in a contemporary way to point forward... It generates a considerable emotional force from reconstituting existing material to revelatory storytelling effect.

  • This graceful essay film, assembled primarily from Hall's radio and TV appearances, presents [Hall] in the contexts of the British left, the wave of former colonial subjects who emigrated to the UK in the 1950s and '60s, and various black cultural movements. Akomfrah also assembles a soundtrack of Miles Davis recordings as an artistic corollary to Hall's intellectual breakthroughs; though dense with ideas, this documentary flows like a piece of music.

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