“Sound looks. Music talks. Words don’t always go there. A story is still being told”.
An unpublished essay by Dhanveer Singh Brar produced on the occasion of a screening of Who Needs a Heart (Black Audio Film Collective, 1991) organised by Pavilion, Hyde Park Picture House and the School of History at the University of Leeds.
If Great Black Music subsumes speech in Who Needs A Heart, what effect does this mode of saying have on viewership and narration?
Dhanveer Singh Brar asks us to look at the gestural capacities of music to understand the film’s fragmented representation of Michael Abdul Malik and the surrounding Black Power movement in 1960s Britain.
Design by Will Rose
Printed by Footprint Workers Co-op, Leeds
“… the music is not there to serve as supplement to image, it is not audible scenery. Rather, Black Audio are showing they understand that the formal dimensions of the music carries the very mark of its population from the inside by the living gestures of the musicians. They show they understand this through their decision to use the music as a means to gather together the gestural components that go into making characterisation, choosing to set aside the standard convention of script. This allows Who Needs a Heart to function as a film made of sound pictures.”