The Stuart Hall ProjectCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Every one of the 103 minutes of this film is totally immersive and captivating, proving award-winning director John Akomfrah as a master of cinematic collage. The Stuart Hall Project takes the audience on a journey through the eponymous Hall’s childhood and growth – both physical and social. The Jamaican-born, Oxford-educated cultural theorist has been torn between his varying backgrounds throughout his life. He tenderly describes how it felt to be cast out in the only place that he truly considered home.
Akomfrah’s huge admiration for Hall shows in every image of the man, in each carefully chosen anecdotal scene from the archives, and most of all in the beautiful tracks played by Miles Davis – of whom Hall is a great fan. In fact, Akomfrah includes a speech by Hall early on in the film, in which the theorist describes Davis as having put a finger on his soul in a way that no other music had done before.
As well as documenting monumental events in the post WWII world (including Cuba, Northern Ireland, Paris, Germany and Vietnam), the film shows the intrinsic stages in Hall’s own life on a microcosmic level. Although raised in Jamaica, he grew up in Britain, co-founding the New Left Review and becoming a key social figure.
In a relatively short period, this film bombards the audience with a mammoth amount of information – however it does not come across like a history lesson, more an education on Hall and what has shaped him, his views and theories. Intertwined with touching home videos and family album snaps, this film is a must-see.
The Stuart Hall Project is released in selected cinemas on 6th September 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Stuart Hall Project here: