Film still from Edvard Munch (1973)
(dir. Peter Watkins)

Retrospective : 7 – 15 May 2012

Peter Watkins: A Retrospective

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OCA is pleased to announce a retrospective of Peter Watkins’s films from Monday 7 to Monday 15 May, organised on the occasion of the film-maker’s participation in OCA's International Studio Programme. The retrospective will reflect on Watkins's fundamental contribution to the history of film as a critical practice, and will have a special focus on his engagement with Norway through the figure of Edvard Munch, to whom he dedicated a film in 1973 titled with the artist’s name. In anticipation of the 150th anniversary of Munch's birth in 2013, OCA would like to give a renewed look at the artist’s life and work by revisiting Watkins’s indispensable account. During his OCA artist residency, Watkins will hold meetings and workshops with students of film, art and other disciplines.

‘Peter Watkins: A Retrospective’ will include screenings of some of his key films and a public panel bringing together the film-maker with past collaborators. It will start with the screening of Edvard Munch, Watkins's film on three decades of the life of the artist, and will be followed by a public discussion about the meaning of the film, both at the time it was released and today. Edvard Munch, considered by Watkins the most personal film he has ever made, dramatises three decades of the life of the artist and provides a raw and haunting portrait of the creative process as embedded within the spirit and the social relations of its time. This will be followed by screenings of Watkins’s other Scandinavian projects, The Gladiators (1968), Evening Land (1976) and The Freethinker (1992–94), a biography of August Strindberg with four different timelines and a spiral structure that will be shown on the 100th anniversary of the artist, writer and playwright’s death in 1912. Additional screenings will include The War Game (1965), Punishment Park (1970) and La Commune (de Paris, 1871) (1999), films in which the dramatisation of historical past or the present results in revealing political assessments that are at the same time critical reflections on filmic language, distribution networks and media in general.

To close the retrospective, on Tuesday 15 May, at 15:00, OCA is organising a public discussion with Peter Watkins centred on the media crisis, a long-term interest of the film-maker. The discussion will analyse the mass audiovisual media's engagement with violent, exploitative and hierarchical ideologies, and the effects this has on society, human affairs and the environment.
Please e-mail if you are interested in attending this event.

About the Programme
· Monday 7 May, 19:00 – Screening of Edvard Munch (1973) (doors open at 18:00)
· Tuesday 8 May, 19:00 – Public discussion: ‘Edvard Munch: A Film’s Legacy’
(with members of the original cast and crew)
· Thursday 10 May, 18:00 – Screening of The Gladiators (1968) and Evening Land (1976)
· Friday 11 May, 18:00 – Screening of The War Game (1965) and Punishment Park (1970)
· Sunday 13 May, 16:00 – Screening of La Commune (de Paris, 1871) (1999)
· Monday 14 May, 17:30 – Screening of The Freethinker (1992–94)
· Tuesday 15 May, 15:00 – Public discussion: ‘The Crisis in the Media’

About the Sunday Brunch on 13 May at Ekely
On Sunday 13 May, at noon, OCA, together with The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, warmly invites all to a brunch to be held at the Munch Studio at Ekely, Oslo. This informal gathering celebrates Peter Watkins's retrospective of films at OCA and the film-maker's stay at Edvard Munch's Estate and Studio during his OCA residency. The Studio was purchased by Edvard Munch in 1916, and he lived and worked there until his death in 1944. In the 1950s seventeen buildings were constructed, establishing an artists' colony there, but the Studio remained and it has been rented by OCA in past years for the purpose of housing artists within OCA's ISP Programme. Former residents include, among others, Lawrence Weiner, Amar Kanwar, Alice Creischer, Enrico David and Trisha Donnelly.
Please join us for this gathering, during which the Munch studio will be open to the public. Light food and refreshments will be served.

About Peter Watkins
Peter Watkins (b.1935 in Norbiton, Surrey, UK) is a film-maker and author. He has directed several landmark films since the 1950s, such as The War Game (1965), Punishment Park (1970), Edvard Munch (1973), The Freethinker (1992–94) and La Commune (de Paris, 1871) (1999) – films that investigate the current political conjuncture through contemporary or historical settings, and that critically address the limits and possibilities of the documentary form. Central to his work is the critical assessment of the mass media, the media crisis and the Monoform, as reflected, for example, in his book Media Crisis (2004).

'Peter Watkins: A Retrospective' has been made possible by Fritt Ord and with the generous technical support of LYDROMMET AS (Pro), Oslo and NEBY Hi-FI CONCEPT AS, Oslo.