The BFI brings to DVD the Sundance and Sheffield documentary film festivals’ acclaimed feature on an important voice.
Stuart Hall, he of the New Left and a key architect in the formation of Cultural Studies, is an esteemed intellectual who has spoken regularly on TV and radio for the last 50 years.
Through the use of archive material, this documentary film released pieces together both the life and times of this fascinating and influential figure.
As Stuart Hall forms the spoken narrator to his own story and that of the wider world, the beautifully mournful strains of Miles Davis’ trumpet (his favourite musician) ring out in evocative accompaniment. This mellow, sombre jazz acts as an interesting, if somewhat counterintuitive, counterpoint to the turmoil that the footage itself often portrays.
Whilst visually very arresting, John Akomfrah’s film never loses sight of Hall’s place as the star; he fills the documentary canvass with illuminating insights and theories on race, memory and identity. It offers plenty of food for thought.
It is an engaging, and ultimately sobering, experience.
The Stuart Hall Project is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on 20th January 2014.
Here is the trailer: