Speaking Nearby

an essay film and video seminar by Angelika Levi, Filmarche Berlin, 2018

Film/ video essay is an in-between genre, situated between documentary and fiction, art and politics. It transgresses the border of genres and does not follow a clear narrative.

To „essay“ means “to assay”, „to weigh“, as well as „to attempt“, suggesting an open ended, evaluated search. But this objective search is haunted and constrained by the presence of individual subjectivity.

Nora M. Alter


We will see chosen films and videos, talk about the “voice” in essay film after reading a conversation between Trinh T. Minh-ha and Nancy N. Chen, and analyse how essay transgresses the border of genres in its form and content.

Let´s make an essayistic experiment, associating words and images. And on the second day I will talk with examples about my own work.

1th day:
Seeing essay film/ video examples
talking about:
– „voice over“ or „speaking nearby“
– analysing structure and rhythm of image and sound in essay films
– An essayistic experiment: associating words and images.

2th day:
– Seeing some examples of essay films by Angelika Levi
Talking about:
– Essay between subjectivity and politics
– Memory essay, consciousness of the material, critique of ideology
– evaluation
films, videos and extracts by:
Emma Wolukau Wanambwa, Chantal Akerman, Trinh. T. Minh-ha, Isaac Julien, Ken Mccullen, Luis Bunuel, Omar Fast, Angelika Levi.

Text: „Speaking Nearby, A Conversation with Trinh T. Minh-ha“, by Nancy N. Chen




Camera seminar at filmArche, Berlin, with Angelika Levi, 3 weeks, 2013

Topic: Mixed narrative forms in film

Through complexity and discontinuity in the story, a film creates artistic, non linear cinematic forms. They transcend and extend the classic genre patterns. How do these hybrids of cinema and art actually work?
How is the camera, are the intersections, the visual dramaturgy build? Based on selected films, we examine: what is documentary / staging, film in film constructions, essay forms, constructions of authenticity, perspectives, points of view, positions of audience.

We will look at :

1. MEIN LEBEN TEIL 2 von Angelika Levi, Germany/ Chile 2003
2. REASSEMBLAGE by Trinh T. Minh-ha, Senegal, 1982
3. THE CONNECTION by Shirley Clarke, NewYork, 1961

read texts:

Trinh T. Minh-ha: From a Hybrid Place (Interview mit Judith Mayne)
Talk about film and life (dialogue between Shirley Clarke and Stan Brakhage)

Practice / Camera Exercise:

In Markthalle Kreuzberg (Halle Neun) / Eisenbahnstraße
Filming a scene so that you can use it for an essayistic reflection. Film documentary or stage protagonists in the market hall, while including the documentary moment of the scenario. No longer than 3 minutes. Cutting in the camera.

Than record an essay text/ poem/ reflection, song (between 1 and 250 words) about the topic you have chosen.

The topic to choose:
– changing in time
– living in Kreuzberg, gentrification
– Children’s wish, family
– food, food industry

In class we will look at words and images together, and analyse it. We will make a little experiment: mixing images and sounds together.



This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!