It was in March that we alerted you to British/Ghanaian filmmaker John Akomfrah’s latest work since last year’s The Nine Muses – discussed and reviewed it on the old S&A site HERE.
And it looks like he’s completely done with the film, as I just learned that it will make its world premiere at the Toronto Interntational Film Festival next month.
Titled Peripeteia, it was first screened during the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) awards cerermony earlier this year, where Akomfrah was on hand to receive the prestigious Princess Margriet Award. The attending 350 guests were said to be delighted by what they saw.
A Google search back then (and another one done today) revealed practically nothing about this new project; his IMDB page doesn’t list it. And a search os S&A came up empty, so we’ve never written about it.
I suppose we’ll learn more in coming weeks. I can’t even tell you whether it’s an experimental work, since that’s the milieu in which Akomfrah commonly works.
But what I can share is a description of the film which reads:
A moving visualization of two characters drawn in the 16th century by Albrecht Dürer – a black male and female whose stories have been ‘lost to the winds of history’.
Albrecht Dürer was a German artist and mathematician of the 15th and 16th centuries, and is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance, with a vast body of work that includes religious works, portraits and copper engravings. I wasn’t familiar, but became so after my initial post on this project.
And the word “Peripeteia” is defined as a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances, especially in reference to fictional narratives.
Third, as the description of the project states, the story centers on a black man and woman whose stories have been “lost to the winds of history.”
So maybe Akomfrah is reviving that history in this film, ensuring the presence of people of African descent in European history during the Renaissance doesn’t go forgotten. Or maybe it’s something more abstract.
I’m really curious to see what he’s been up to here, and I hope a trailer emerges sooner than later.
The photo above is a combo of the two characters drawn by Durer – a piece from 1508 titled Head Of A Negro, done during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (little is known about the man in the drawing), and Portrait Of African Woman Catherine, done in 1521; these are likely the drawings Akomfrah will explore in his film.