Living on Air: The Films of Sandra Lahire

Program Two

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Terminals is a stream-of-consciousness collage, which asks us to look at and question the dangers of technological advances and nuclear power. “The ‘work faster’ ethic is written on the door to the terminals. Hazards to fertility or risks of cancer are not criteria in setting ‘acceptable’ levels of exposure to radiation at work. At the Visual Display Terminal, women are staring directly at a source of radiation. ” – SL (Sandra Lahire, UK, 1986, 16mm to 2K digital, 20 min.)

Plutonium Blonde

Part of a trilogy of films on radiation, this dystopic collage frames the fractured narrative of Thelma, a woman working with the monitors in a plutonium reactor. Plutonium blonde, a colour reference usually used in beauty products, becomes the reality of the female body in the chemical factory. Through phonic collages of casual conversations and children’s lullabies that are disrupted by the fumes of factories and the threat of a nuclear war, Sandra Lahire’s film confronts the viewer with difficult questions around the damaged bodies that inhabit a chemical reality and the female identity during such a crisis. (Mariana Sánchez Bueno) (Sandra Lahire, UK, 1987, 16mm to 2K digital, 16 min.)

Recently digitised and restored at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastian), in the context of the research project “Their Past is Always Present”.

Uranium Hex

Using a kaleidoscopic array of experimental techniques, this film explores uranium mining in Canada and its destructive effects on both the environment and the women working in the mines. A plethora of images ranging from the women at work to spine-chilling representations of cancerous bodies are accompanied by unnerving industrial sounds and straightforward information from some of the women. (Sandra Lahire, UK, 1987, 16mm to 2K digital, 12 min.)

Serpent River

Beautiful but often violent images are interwoven to create an experimental documentary about the hazardous existence of the Serpent River community living in the shadow of uranium mines in Ontario, Canada. Serpent River is the final part of a trilogy of anti-nuclear films in which the filmmaker makes visible the invisible menace of radioactivity. People, the landscape and natural resources all bear the scars. (Sandra Lahire, UK, 1989, 16mm to 2K digital, 32 min.)

Series organized by Charlotte Procter with Support from LUX
Introduced by Charlotte Procter, Collection & Archive Director at LUX and member of the Cinenova Working Group

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