‘Peter Watkins: A Retrospective’ at the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo

‘Peter Watkins: A Retrospective’ at the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo

Office for Contemporary Art Norway

Peter Watkins filming La Commune (de Paris, 1871), 1999. Photo by Corinna Paltrinieri. Courtesy of Peter Watkins.
April 16, 2012
‘Peter Watkins: A Retrospective’ at the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo

7–14 May 2012

Nedre Gate 7
0551 Oslo, Norway


OCA is pleased to announce a retrospective of Peter Watkins‘s films from 714 May, organised on the occasion of the film-maker’s participation in OCA’s International Studio Programme. The retrospective will reflect on Watkins’s fundamental contribution to the history of film as a critical practice, and will have a special focus on his engagement with Norway through the figure of Edvard Munch, to whom he dedicated a film in 1973 titled with the artist’s name. In anticipation of the 150th anniversary of Munch’s birth in 2013, OCA would like to give a renewed look at the artist’s life and work by revisiting Watkins’s indispensable account. During his OCA artist residency, Watkins will reside at the Munch Estate and Studio at Ekely, and engage in meetings and workshops with students of film, art, and other disciplines.

‘Peter Watkins: A Retrospective’ will start with the screening of Edvard Munch, Watkins’s film on three decades of the life of the artist, and will be followed by a public discussion in which the director will address, together with members of the cast and the technical team, the meaning of the film, both at the time it was released and today. Edvard Munch, considered by Watkins the most personal film he has ever made, dramatises three decades of the life of the artist and provides a raw and haunting portrait of the creative process as embedded within the spirit and the social relations of its time.

This will be followed by screenings of Watkins’s other Scandinavian projects, The Gladiators (1968), Evening Land (1976), and The Freethinker (1992–94), a biography of August Strindberg with four different timelines and a spiral structure that will be shown on the 100th anniversary of the artist, writer, and playwright’s death in 1912. Additional screenings will include The War Game (1965), Punishment Park (1970), and La Commune (de Paris, 1871) (1999), films in which the dramatisation of historical past or the present results in revealing political assessments that are at the same time critical reflections on filmic language, distribution networks, and media in general.

About the Programme

Monday 7 May, 19 – Screening of Edvard Munch (1973)
Tuesday 8 May, 19 – Public discussion: ‘Edvard Munch: A Film’s Legacy’
Thursday 10 May, 18 – Screening of The Gladiators (1968) and Evening Land (1976)
Friday 11 May, 18 – Screening of The War Game (1965) and Punishment Park (1970)
Sunday 13 May, 16 – Screening of La Commune (de Paris, 1871) (1999)
Monday 14 May, 17.30 – Screening of The Freethinker (1992–94)

About Peter Watkins

Peter Watkins (b.1935 in Norbiton, Surrey, UK) is a film-maker and author. He has directed several landmark films since the 1950s, such as The War Game (1965), Punishment Park (1970), Edvard Munch (1973), The Freethinker (1992–94), and La Commune (de Paris, 1871) (1999)—films that investigate the current political conjuncture through contemporary or historical settings, and that critically address the limits and possibilities of the documentary form. Central to his work is the critical assessment of the mass media, the media crisis, and the monoform, as reflected, for example, in his book Media Crisis (2004).

For more information on the retrospective, please contact OCA press officer Maria Moseng: [email protected]

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April 16, 2012

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