STUART BRISLEY, Ken McMullen, Resistance, 1976, BFI

Stuart Brisley participates in the AV Festival Biennial Part 1: Meanwhile, What about Socialism? Stuart Brisley will be participating in this edition with Ken McMullen in Ken's film Resistance. The film's title also gives its name to the festival's film programme: Resistance: British Documentary Film, Tue 1 - Thu 24 March 2016.


Resistance assembles fragments of raw material (archive film, performances, music, historical and psychological contradictions) and attempts to make a whole. The historical focus of the film is the French Resistance. Although the film deals only intermittently with the Resistance, it does describe quite faithfully the way in which ex-resistors render up their past in terms of readymade mythologies.


The film examines the sociological and psychological roots of resistance to military occupation; questions the use to which archive film is put in educational and television documentaries; explores the role that film can have in re-interpreting history. It includes archive and newsreel footage of wartime France, anti-fascist demonstrations, and of Lenin and Trotsky.


Twenty hours of psychodrama shot on 1-inch videotape produced the performance material (50 minutes of the finished film). This part of the film was made in an isolated location in Devon where the participants spent a week working through and re-analysing their performances in an attempt to merge elements of their own personalities with the fictional roles imposed on them. A practicing psychoanalyst took part in this. Resistance was performed by: Stuart Brisley, Marc Chaimowicz, Ian Kellgren, Lesley Pitt, Anna Koply, Arnold Linken and Elizabeth Richardson.


In the film Brisley plays Sam, a worker and former Communist Party member who was expelled from the party in 1936 when he refused to abandon strikes for the eight-hour day. His sense of betrayal emerges as one of the stresses at work in the resistance movement ten years later.


This screening of the film is followed by a Q&A session with director Ken McMullen and artist Stuart Brisley.  


Resistance: Ken McMullen and Stuart Brisley

Thursday 24 March 2016, 7pm 

Northern Charter

Fifth Floor

Commercial Union House

39 Pilgrim Street