رحيل مخرج الافلام الوثائقية حول السودان و قضاياه Arthur Howes

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رحيل مخرج الافلام الوثائقية حول السودان و قضاياه Arthur Howes

    Arthur Howes
    Documentary-maker passionately involved in the griefs of Sudan
    Jeffrey Geiger
    Tuesday December 07 2004
    The Guardian


    Arthur Howes, who has died aged 54 from lung cancer, was an award-winning
    filmmaker. As an expert on the Sudan, he was often asked for his views
    during its recent years of political crisis. His documentaries, most of
    them made on tight budgets, were screened on Channel 4, acclaimed at
    international festivals and are taught on film courses the world over.

    Filmmaking was only one facet of Arthur's talents (he painted, spoke five
    languages and was a charismatic storyteller), but his films are his chief
    legacy, revealing passion and respect for the people he filmed and for
    cinema itself.

    His films show keen sensitivity and a knack for engaging people, whether he
    was working in Brixton (his home for 30 years), the Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya,
    or Brazil in Bacchanalias Bahianas 1-5.

    He was born and educated in Gibraltar, and migrated to London to find the
    intellectual and creative stimulation that he craved. He did art and
    teacher training at Furzedown College, applying his avant-garde interests
    to experiments with super-8 cameras.

    In the mid-1970s he did a BA in film studies at the Polytechnic of Central
    London, where he made Threatened Assassins, a deft fictional work that was
    influenced both by French New Wave and genres like film noir.

    Arthur was unafraid to challenge the filmmaking status quo. He had been a
    teacher in Kadugli, Sudan (1980-82), and in 1984 he brought his
    experimental technique to the National Film and Television School.

    Under the tutelage of Colin Young, he came into his own, showing a strong
    affinity for the fluidity and immediacy of the vérité style of Jean Rouch
    and DA Pennebaker. He made, with Amy Hardie, Kafi's Story (1990), about
    Sudanese labour and migration from Torogi in the south to Khartoum.

    It won the BP Expo/BBC Documentary Award, the Amsterdam International
    Documentary Film Festival award and other prizes.

    Despite this, funding was never easy to find and Arthur bemoaned the
    funding culture at institutions such as the BBC, where documentary seemed
    to be valued only if it had heightened dramatics, voyeuristic intrusion,
    and the heroic presence of on-camera directors.

    Arthur had a great love for celluloid aesthetics, but adapted brilliantly
    to digital technology. The filmmaker, carrying his camera, could now move
    across borders with the ease of a tourist, and Arthur took full advantage
    of this, making Oromo - Human Rights (1996) in Ethiopia and Kenya, and Nuba
    Conversations (2000), in the Kenyan refugee camp at Kakuma and across the
    war-damaged regions of Sudan, where 60,000 Nuba children had been abducted
    to "peace camps" and then forcibly recruited into the Sudanese army.

    Nuba Conversations showed Arthur's gift for putting people of all walks of
    life at their ease; his empathy for human suffering; his hatred of
    injustice; and his unwavering photographic eye, which captured life in all
    its beauty and tragedy.

    The Village Voice called it "searing journalism and a document of what has
    to many western eyes remained an invisible cataclysm". A Nairobi screening
    helped inspire UN ceasefire talks between the Sudanese government and the
    SPLM (Sudanese People's Liberation Movement).

    Benjamin And His Brother (2002) returned to Kakuma, further tracing
    Sudanese displacement and forced migrations. It follows two young men in
    their attempts to emigrate to the US; only one manages to secure visas for
    the journey, leading to a painful separation. Benjamin found wide success,
    including screening at New York's Margaret Mead Festival, the Pacific Film
    Archives in Berkeley, and Brixton's Ritzy.

    Arthur, always interested in other media, was visual director for the
    multimedia shows Kaddish (1995) and Physical Cinema (1999), mounted by the
    avant-garde group Towering Inferno; produced videos for the "krautrock"
    band, Faust; and did installations for London nightclubs.

    He taught film for years at Brixton College, and also held posts at Essex
    University, Napier University, Edinburgh, and the London College of
    Printing. He was an inspiring teacher who encouraged students to make
    documentaries as far afield as West Africa and Ethiopia, and wrote
    scholarly pieces on documentary history and theory.

    Arthur's last, unreleased, work is a meditation on his battle with lung
    cancer while in Bahia, Brazil. Highly experimental, it visualises his
    deterioration in health, as the camera becomes progressively heavier and
    the images grow increasingly painterly and static.

    In many ways it brought his life and career full circle, returning to the
    world of the African diaspora, to the pleasures of light, food and the
    body; and to the sea, which he always associated with his beloved home,
    Gibraltar.

    He is survived by his son, Eli Hardie-Howes.

    · Arthur Christopher Joseph Howes, filmmaker, born July 15 1950; died
    November 29 2004

    Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited
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