The screenings of work by Smith and Robakowski brought together two filmmakers who interrogate the language and mechanics of film itself. They share an interest in the world unfolding around them and in front of the camera, examining occasions and incidents with a humour which undercuts the rigorous nature of their work. Both reveal the narrative potential within the everyday while simultaneously making us aware of the actual and constructed nature of the images we are viewing.
Józef Robakowski is a pioneer of independent Polish film. From the early 1970s he interrogated the language, material and mechanics of film, combined with a long-standing interest in conceptualist avant-garde traditions filtered through an insistence on authenticity and personal identity. Presented were a series of pieces produced between 1970 and 2009 including From My Window, 1978 – 1999 (2000) shot from Robakowski’s apartment. By filming the world around him and narrating everyday events in his own, often wryly humorous voice, he deployed a kind of personal resistance to the political situation imposed upon him.