Film has a rich tradition of incorporating and interacting with other practices and it is within this Rhyme & Rhythm strand where cinema and other art forms meet. Through performance – traditional and contemporary dance, and theatre; visual art – portrait photography, painting, sculpture, street art, and video art; and music – from afrobeat to jazz, via Bollywood, blues, classical, electronic, gypsy folk, pop, punk, post-punk, and rumba.

Each film offers one artistic expression within another and spotlights the work of each artist:

Margarita Fernandez by Edgardo Cozarinsky, Brigitte Lacombe by Lynne Ramsay, Jérôme Bel by Jérôme Bel. Films such as Bring Down The Walls by Phil Collins and All the Possibilities... by Marsha Gordon & Louis Cherry experiment with the language of cinema to bring to life, and to the screen, house music and abstract painting respectively.

Art is also a form of resistance and the majority of the artists featured use their craft to imagine and demand a better world: In Breaking Barriers, The Casteless Collective is a protest band offering solidarity with ‘the untouchables’. Elsewhere in India, a singer uses her voice to spearhead the #MeToo movement in Shut Up Sona. The Go-Go’s as an all-female band find themselves fighting an almost all-male music industry. In King Rocker Robert Lloyd’s lyrics speak out for the working-classes of the Midlands. In Southern Journey (Revisited) blues offers an outlet to those ignored by the media in Southern states USA. In Gracefully, a trans dancer continues to dance in defiance of the ban in Iran. And Keith Haring: Street Art Boy remembers an artist who died while raising awareness of the AIDS epidemic.

Remembering artists who have passed away more recently, a number of the films in the programme address how we want to be remembered and what we leave behind. In Schlingensief – A Voice That Shook the Silence, an incredible assembly of archive captures the legacy of the prolific theatre and filmmaker. In The Vasulka Effect, the grandparents of video art, Steina and Woody Vasulka, are struggling to catalogue their body of work when they are re-discovered by the art world they thought had forgotten them. And in Universe we remember Wallace Roney, the jazz musician who died of COVID-19-related illness in March without seeing the release of the already unreleased composition he was bestowed by his mentor Miles Davis.

Finally, Faith and Branko reminds us that despite language and cultural barriers, it is possible to fall in love not just with music but through music. A timely reminder that in a climate not only of social distancing, but mass isolation, insularity and segregation, art and culture crosses borders and brings us together.

From the UK and Serbia, across Europe, and to Argentina, Cuba and Nigeria, a diverse range of creative talent both in front of and behind the camera will rock and shine in this year’s Rhyme & Rhythm selection, offering encounters and inspirations to a different beat.

Melanie Iredale & Agnès Wildenstein
Deputy Director / Associate Programmer