Director Jem Cohen in person
This program also screens on April 6th at the Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, and on April 16th at the Roxie Theater, San Francisco. Information here.
The poetic, political imagery that has made Jem Cohen an iconoclastic American treasure is on full display in his recent work. World Without End (No Reported Incidents), a portrait of Southend-on-Sea, a working-class British resort town near London gently leads us into a forgotten Britain where the unspoken specter of Brexit looms over all. Cohen visits the town and finds something typical for him: a poetry of sorts that lets small details—a look, a sound, an impromptu conversation—amplify and transform into something touching and beautiful. The people Cohen interviews—including a young student, aging members of a pub rock band, the owner of a classic hat company, and the owner of an Indian restaurant—and his unique approach to filmmaking, where he lingers on scenes of public passageways, storefronts, and moments of “everyday” doings, elevate the town into something unforgettable. Two equally memorable shorts accompany the feature: In Birth of a Nation, Cohen takes his camera to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration and to the next day’s protests, while in Bury Me Not, Cohen spotlights New York City and its changing vibrancy.—Jonathan Curiel