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Like A Song.

To consider Anna Thew's cinematography is to explore a plural practice. She began working in film at the end of the seventies, engaging in film through painting, installation and performance. At that time British experimental cinema was dominated by the Structuralist Materialist school, which questioned the specificity of the medium and above all its materiality; the process of "film as film" as it unspools. This concern was with the event, that film depends on its materiality more than on illusionist or representational content. For a new generation of film-makers, this cinema was seen as ascetic, formalist, but more than anything it posited an approach which was grounded in modernism, besides which it was predominantly a male activity. That does not mean to say that women were excluded completely. There were exceptions. But the reductionism of propositions, as much as the aesthetic used, had its affiliation with this dominant group of practitioners.

Work on and around narration, work on more linear forms which had recourse to expression, were relatively banned from this field. However it is from around the mid seventies that the women's movement began to theoretically question this aspect and function of cinema, and turned in opposition to forms which were more explicit and consistent with alternative sensibilities and difference. It is during this same period that the "iron lady" (Thatcher) came to power in England, unleashing a radical backlash in the social and political field. It is against this background that Anna Thew's work in film should be considered.

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