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A study of “A Day in Life” at the Essay Film Festival

On Saturday, the Essay Film Festival at Birkbeck University of London, England, will hold a day of study of the work of Eduardo Coutinho. Besides screening his landmark 1984 film, Cabra Marcado para Morrer (Twenty Years Later), and his last film, Last Conversations (finished by João Moreira Salles and Jordana Berg in 2014), they are organizing two panels on the films, and have invited me to offer a lecture on his 2010 “unwatchable” film, Um Dia na Vida (A Day in Life, 2010) – which is not screening at the festival, but is available with English subtitles here. Twenty Years Later and Last Conversations are geoblocked outside of the U.K., but the talks are free and open to all.

A Day in Life is a feature documentary made exclusively with footage appropriated from free-to-air television at the course of one day, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The film never had a commercial release, and had an alternative exhibition history that in many ways prompted and repurposed multiple strategies in the history of cinematic exhibition – from early cinema’s illustrated lectures to peer-to-peer file sharing. I will include in my talk bits of my research of Coutinho’s personal archive, which includes very illuminating material on the making of A Day in Life, and how it reframes discussions surrounding authorship, copyright, archiving, appropriation, transmedia production, medium and site specificity, and the political potential of cinematic contraband.

Book your free ticket for the full study day here.

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