Films from the Underside

Bookings Open 9 November (book here)



Underside poster image

 Films from the Underside showcases political documentaries coming from, and about, almost every corner of the world. Organised by Goldsmiths´ Centre for Postcolonial Studies, the festival reflects the principles guiding the Centre’s intellectual activities: that politics must be conceived in its broadest sense, as an arena of social contestation, and not merely as electoral politics and the doings of the state; that to grasp contemporary politics, we need to start by ‘provincializing Europe’ and looking beyond its borders; and that the study of politics and society is inconceivable without a serious engagement with culture. All of these concerns are well represented in the selection of films for this festival, the first of what will become an annual event.

This year’s films venture into Africa, Asia, the Americas and Southern Europe. With the resurgence of the Left in parts of the globe, we look back at the insurrections that shocked the world in the recent past- in Cairo, Madrid, Istanbul, New York, Hong Kong. Three films show the possibilities, but also the serious dangers, of rebellion in the Global South.  Madina´s Dream captures suffering of the inhabitants of the Nuba Mountains, harassed by the government of Sudan; Miners Shot Down tell the story of the strikes of the Marikana miners in South Africa; Xavier Robles´ documentary on the ‘disappeared’ students of Ayotzinapa reconstructs the climate of impunity, corruption and crime that prevails in contemporary Mexico.

We pay close attention to the human drama of the Mexico/US Border by screening a marathon of four films, that together create an impressive fresco of a convulsed part of world. South East Asia figures in two documentaries that deal with two “gifts” bequeathed by the Global North to Cambodia and Vietnam, namely sweatshops and Agent Orange.

Festival Map of Locations
Joe Njagu and Agnieszka Piotrowska shooting in Harare.

In this first edition of Films from the Underside, we also pay tribute to two important artists and filmmakers based in the UK: Isaac Julien and Agnieszka Piotrowska. We celebrate 26 years of Looking for Langston, Julien´s early masterpiece that help to craft a new language for the film essay.

Piotrowska is our guest director for this year´s festival, and she will be discussing her most recent film, Lovers in Time or How We Didn’t Get Arrested in Harare, shown for the first time in London at this Festival.


Films from the Underside is a free festival, but bookings will be essential as rooms have capacity. Bookings open through Eventbrite Here.

Map of Goldsmiths with session locations (see image right)