Alia Syed’s Fatima’s Letter – 16mm Screening

  • Alia Syed, Fatima

    Alia Syed, Fatima’s Letter (still) (1992), 19 minutes, 16 mm film transferred to DVD. Courtesy of Alia Syed and LUX, London.

Past Event

This event was on Thurs 24 Aug, 6pm

Access Information

“London is never London but contains traces of other cities, the poignancy of the landscape lies in its ability to conjure, the sound of a horn, Karachi – one city falls into another” – Alia Syed

Shot almost entirely at Whitechapel Underground station, just around the corner from the Gallery, Alia Syed’s film Fatima’s Letter is featured in our free summer season, Life Is More Important Than Art. This film traces a woman’s life through her journey on the London Underground, as the faces she sees around her jog memories of her past, compelling her to write a letter to her friend Fatima.

We observe the thought process behind this letter through a visual day-dream of documentary footage, ruptured by written text and voices speaking in Urdu. Shadows and reflections flit continuously across the screen. Whilst the subtitles are in English, they are rarely in conjunction with what is spoken, producing a layered, ephemeral and fragmented experience, where the audience is dislocated from the narrator. Syed questions the role of language, and highlights the diasporic experience, as London collapses into Karachi and the past falls into the present.

See Fatima’s Letter in its original format in this rare 16mm screening as part of our Thursday late, screened every half hour from 6-9pm.