Blind Spot (Die Reise nach Lyon / Le voyage à Lyon) + Q&A

Blind Spot (Die Reise nach Lyon / Le voyage à Lyon), Claudia von Alemann, West Germany, 1981, 107 min., German & French with English subtitles, ©bpk / AbisagTüllmann

Date: Friday 8 April 2022

Time: 6:15 pm

Venue: ICA, Cinema 1


Blind Spot (Die Reise nach Lyon / Le voyage à Lyon), Claudia von Alemann, West Germany, 1981, 107 min., German & French with English subtitles

The recent restoration of Claudia von Alemann’s 1981 feature-length film Blind Spot (Die Reise nach Lyon / Le voyage à Lyon) is a remarkable experiment in feminist historiography. In this film Elisabeth, a young German historian, roams the city of Lyon following in the footsteps of socialist and feminist writer Flora Tristan, and trying to reconstruct through sensations and sounds what Tristan might have felt and perceived in the past. The film is an exercise in historical reconstruction and a reflection about alternative ways of telling and writing women’s history.

This screening will be followed by a conversation between Claudia von Alemann and Laura Mulvey.

Claudia von Alemann

The Essay Film Festival and the Goethe-Institut London in collaboration with the ICA present a programme of screenings and discussions dedicated to the work of German filmmaker Claudia von Alemann.

The focus is on three films dealing with the writing of early feminist histories in France and Germany and the work of women filmmakers. The screenings include the restoration of Alemann’s first feature film, Blind Spot (1981) and two other films shown in the UK for the first time, The Next Century Will Be Ours (1986/87), and the video-essay Bright Nights (1988).

Claudia von Alemann was born in Seebach, Germany. She studied art history and sociology at the Freie Universität Berlin and film at the Ulm School of Design. Her early documentaries deal with international political issues, with films covering such topics as May 1968, Kathleen and Eldridge Cleaver’s time in Algeria, the efforts of women in the Vietnam war, and the exploitation of female factory workers in West Germany. In 1973 she co-organised, with Helke Sander, the First International Women’s Film Festival at the Kino Arsenal, Berlin. She pursued a fascinating career in publishing, translating, teaching and as a freelance filmmaker, author and independent producer, continuing to experiment in different forms and mediums, directing feature films, experimental videos, and documentaries. These include feature films like Blind Spot (1981) and The Next Century Will be Ours (1986/87), the essay film Bright Nights (1988), the video piece The Women’s Room (part of several video-art collections, like MoMA), and documentary portraits of artists such as photographer Abisag Tüllmann.

With special thanks to Claudia von Alemann, and acknowledging the support of the Deutsche Kinemathek, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and Hessischer Rundfunk.