1hr 30mins

Tony Harrison is one of the most distinguished and important poets of his generation and we are delighted to present a retrospective of his film / poems – curated by David McLachlan in Partnership with Tyneside Cinema.

“Harrison is the first master of a form he has made his own” - The Times

Mark Kidal, Tony Harrison / Peter Symes

A Maybe Day in Kazakhstan (1994) 50min

Director: Mark Kidal and Tony Harrison
Producer: Andrew Holmes
Produced in Association with the Foundation of Hellenic Culture
Channel 4

Reflecting the aspirations of a recently democratised Kazakhstan following the break-up of the Soviet Union. The film / poem focuses on the displaced, exiled and impoverished Kazakhstanis in modern day Greece, the site of democracy’s ancient birth, as they sell, barter and flog the trinkets and souvenirs which are now no more than out of fashion junk and curiosities of their former communist home and way of life.

“This marvellous accessible piece of poetry” – Time Out

The Gaze of the Gorgon (1992) 40 min

Writer: Tony Harrison
Director: Peter Symes
Production BBC

A statue of the dissident German poet Heinrich Heine who had been rejected from his homeland sat in the grounds of a palace in Corfu, owned by Elizabeth, The Empress of Austria.

When the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II arrived to take over the palace after the assignation of Elizabeth, the statue was removed, as the Kaiser detested Heine, to be shipped back to Germany and after being moved around Europe, now sits, unnoticed in a park in Toulon, France.

While in Corfu the Kaiser became involved in archeological projects and unearthed part of an early Greek temple, which included the head of a Gorgon. The Gorgon comes to symbolise the unspeakable horrors of the 20th Century. Her gaze representing the elites of power and prevents the populist from awaking to the atrocities as they turn to metaphorical stone of apathy and intolerance.

The film / poem gives a voice to Heine as our guide as his journey across time, and Europe to his final resting place, reflects on the horrors unleashed by the Kaiser and the long shadow of destruction that remains.

“Art forces us to gaze into the horror of existence, yet without being turned to stone by the vision” – Fredrich Nietzche: The Birth of Tragedy

“A stunning film poem, a brilliant work” – The Sunday Times

“A magnificent work, to avoid falling prey to the collective mirage of a new order, to stay wide awake while others succumb to the lethe of the group mind, to resist the gaze of modern Gorgons.” – Professor Roger Griffin


Click here for more information about the full Tony Harrison film / poems season.



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