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Sotiris KyriacouClick here to Print this Page
Cordelia Swann
On the surface, Freedonia (2004), named after the imaginary state in the Marx Brothers' film Duck Soup, is a collection of footage of different political protests, marches and street events in London.

Each proceeded by a title indicating the date of the occasion; the sequences declare their derivation from the real and the contemporary but also do a lot more. The individuality of each scene, (which can range from a shot of the Queen looking sad to a fainting guardsman being carried away on a stretcher to Tony Blair, grim, at the cenotaph), triggers the viewer to concentrate on details and differences, on the individual within the mass, on idiosyncrasies, nuances, incidents and specific messages within the whole.

The different camera vantage points in the films indicate the variable shooting conditions encountered on each occasion, so that the images become a combination both of necessity and a desire to 'convey' the event. The use of both short and longer sequences give the film an added texture and punctuation, whilst the apparent simplicity of the film hides the patience and effort filming such situations demands. Such persistence, echoing that of the protestors and revellers it depicts, adds to the poignancy of Freedonia as a very human tribute to protest and imagination despite the odds.

Sotiris Kyriacou is a freelance writer and Director of Exhibitions at Program, London.

Sotiris Kyriacou
Still from Freedonia by Cordelia Swann, 2004
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