Bird’s Eye View

The Bird’s Eye View film festival “showcases the very best work from women filmmakers” and takes place at London’s NFT, Barbican and ICA from 8th -14th March. Below is the programme description from the festival web site:


Two programmes of short silent films made by women directors from early pioneers to contemporary artists taking place at the Barbican on Sunday 11th March and NFT as part of the Optronica Festival on Sunday 18th March with specially composed & original soundtracks performed live by cutting-edge women musicians including ERROLLYN WALLEN, SEAMING TO, JOANNA MCGREGOR and RITA RAY. Expect a variety of styles and genres for both ears and eyes: innovative and inspirational.

SOUNDS AND SILENTS 1 Sunday 11th March, 3PM, Barbican 1.


Made by one of the first female directors, Germaine Dulac, in the 1920’s, The Smiling Madame Beudet is lauded as the first feminist film ever made. It is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in which he puts an empty revolver to his head and threatens to shoot himself. One day, while the husband is away, she puts bullets in the revolver. However, she is stricken with remorse and tries to retrieve the bullets the next morning. Her husband gets to the revolver first only this time he points the revolver at her.

Specially commissioned soundtracks performed live by Errolyn Wallen.


One of the most influential works in American experimental cinema. A non-narrative work, it has been identified as a key example of the “trance film,” in which a protagonist appears in a dreamlike state, and where the camera conveys his or her subjective focus. The central figure in Meshes of the Afternoon, played by Deren, is attuned to her unconscious mind and caught in a web of dream events that spill over into reality. Symbolic objects recur throughout the film; events are open-ended and interrupted. Deren explained that she wanted “to put on film the feeling which a human being experiences about an incident, rather than to record the incident accurately.”

Specially commissioned soundtracks performed live by Seaming To.

SOUND AND SILENTS 2 Sunday 18th March, 5:30PM, NFT OPTRONICA Festival.

Daisy Doodad’s Dial (UK 1914, 6’) – Florence Turner
Brilliantly entertaining British comedy, featuring Turner herself as rubber-faced Daisy.

Jetsam (UK 2002, 2’ 30”) – Sonia Bridge
A fascinating high-speed experimental short celebrating the everyday.

Sap (UK 2002, 8’) – Hyun-Joo Kim
Animation in the style of a Korean folk tale that makes use of delicate oil-on-glass animation techniques.

Suspense (USA 1913, 8’) – Lois Weber and Philip Smalley
Innovative early thriller using groundbreaking split-screen techniques.

Missing People (UK 2003, 6’ 30”) – Kathy Hinde
A hypnotic film from one of Joanna Macgregor’s most frequent collaborators.

The Grasshopper and the Ant (UK 1954, 11’) – Lotte Reiniger
Remarkable shadow-puppet animation from the first filmmaker, male or female, to direct a full-length animated feature film.

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