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First Look At, And New Info On John Akomrah's 'Peripeteia' (Based On 16th Century Dürer Painting)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 15, 2012 at 10:16AM

One of several S&A 2012 Toronto Interntational Film Festival highlights... British/Ghanaian filmmaker John Akomfrah's latest work, titled Peripeteia. 
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Head Of A negro

One of several S&A 2012 Toronto Interntational Film Festival highlights... British/Ghanaian filmmaker John Akomfrah's latest work, titled Peripeteia

As noted in a previous post, a Google search reveals practically nothing about this new project; his IMDB page doesn't even list it, last I checked.

I suppose we'll learn more in coming weeks. But consider the mystery a little less of one with today's reveal: first, I've learned that it's actually NOT a feature length work. It's an 18-minute short film that stars Monique Cunningham, Trevor Mathison (who appeared in Akomfrah's last work, The Nine Muses); an secondly, the first image from the film has surfaced, which you'll find embedded below.

A quick recap... the description of the film reads:

A moving visualization of two characters drawn in the 16th century by Albrecht Dürer - a black male and female whose stories have been ‘lost to the winds of history’.

TIFF's description is just about the same, but is more specific:

British filmmaker John Akomfrah imagines the lives of a black man and woman who appear in a sixteenth-century drawing by German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer.

Albrecht Dürer was a German artist and mathematician of the 15th and 16th centuries, and is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance, with a vast body of work that includes religious works, portraits and copper engravings. I wasn't familiar, but became so after my initial post on this project.

And the word "Peripeteia" is defined as a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances, especially in reference to fictional narratives.

Despite being slightly disappointed to find out that it's a short and not a feature, I'm still really curious to see what he's been up to here, and I hope a trailer emerges sooner than later.

The photo above is a combo of the two characters drawn by Durer - a piece from 1508 titled Head Of A Negro, done during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (little is known about the man in the drawing), and Portrait Of African Woman Catherine, done in 1521.

The new image from the film below is likely Akomfrah's representation of the latter.

This article is related to: John Akomfrah


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