Stuart Hall emigrated from Jamaica to the UK in 1951 to take up a place at Oxford University, and became a founding figure of cultural studies with a resounding and ongoing influence on British intellectual life.
A founding figure of contemporary cultural studies – and one of the most inspiring voices of the post-war Left – Stuart Hall’s resounding and ongoing influence on British intellectual life commenced soon after he emigrated from Jamaica.
Combining extensive archival imagery – television excerpts, home movies, family photos – with specially filmed material and a personally mixed Miles Davis soundtrack, Akomfrah’s filmmaking approach matches the agility of Hall’s intellect, its intimate play with memory, identity and scholarly impulse traversing the changing historical landscape of the second half of the 20th century.
As part of our original plans for Docs Ireland 2020, scheduled for June, we were going to highlight the work of Stuart Hall, including live screenings of a selection of interviews and TV programmes he had made. Since those plans were unfortunately cancelled, we are showcasing this inspiring documentary, which skillfully and poetically uses Hall’s own words to tell his life story. The film, and Hall’s edifying words, deal with Race, Culture, Identity, Politics, Sexuality and Gender, Immigration and War. All of his speeches include things that are as relevant to British culture as when he spoke them. Simply, everyone in our society can learn from him, one of the clearest and most insightful thinkers to talk of, and from, the UK.
“A stirring documentary tribute to the cultural theorist Stuart Hall … we see the past few decades through very special eyes”
— Time Out
“Akomfrah finds a new and quietly moving significance in Hall’s own life story”
— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian