The subject(s) of my films centre on my inscription into texts and narratives about female characters, experience and as subjects.  I combine the subjective voice and narrative with the moving image as a means of enabling a feminine perspective. An ‘intense subject’ is at the centre of my experimental films as a form of enunciation and authorship as presence – as ‘woman’. This is expressed in vocalisation and spoken narrations through woman as texts through which I mediate myself in the act of inscription where the ‘feminine’ intersects with or breaks out of, the institutional.  Archetypes and real women – saints and mystics are empowering texts and figures – the Virgin, the visionaries, Chapter 18 of Ulysses, St Teresa of Avila are adopted in an inscriptive process in scripts and film soundtracks.  The films  search for the possibility of speaking through inscription and for communicating emotion through the trope of the subject – within the visual rigour of  the language of experimental film.  


She developed a style of camera movement and fast editing in the films of the 90s which are  Stabat Mater (1990), Now I am yours” (1992), The Silence is Baroque (1997) released by LUX in the DVD Rupture/Rapture/Jouissance – The Religious Trilogy 1990-1997 and which mix religious iconography with psychoanalysis, experimental film and vocals.


The absence of the subjective in structural film was negotiated through Peter Gidal’s structural/materialist concept of the presence and ontology of the material of film within the ethos of the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative – where she was based 1981-1987 making 16mm films Close to Home (1982-85) and Stabat Mater (1990) – she had already made First Memory (1980).   Other writings were Julia Kristeva’s on the ‘semiotic’, Lacan on jouissance, feminist literary approaches to unfeminist figures such as saints and Catholic subjects, all these intersected through the concept of L’ecriture feminine (broadly incorporative of different psychoanalytic approaches to creative production and the ‘feminine’), including Catholic references, the trope of what is in excess and expressed in song or religious ecstasy, to produce a form of heightened filmic experience which is a territory that she conceived in the films of the 90s and introduced into experimental film.  


Her films engage with the female voice and she has recorded with experimental singers and vocalisation combined with her own speaking voice to reach the expressive potential of each film.   “Now I am yours” (1993) is performed by American vocalist Shelley Hirsch and is released on the CD States.  Temenos (1997) BFI is performed by Tuvan singer Sainkho Namtchylak,  Shelly Hirsch and English soprano Catherine Bott and is released on CD by Leo Records.  Her new film, I Die of Sadness Crying for You (2019) is a personal essay film on ‘copla’ a form of Spanish song about the profound sorrow of ‘woman’ and women’s experiences of ostracism and unrequited love. I Die of Sadness Crying For You (2019) continues her interest, this time, in lyrics and features performances by Marifé de Triana.  It has premiered at the 63rd BFI London Film Festival and  will have its European premiere at the Seville European Film Festival 2019


Since 2010  when she returned to making a new film Communion (2010) for the show From Floor to Sky (2010) and re-installing her slide-tape First Memory (1980), she has made five large solo film installations for two London churches; Heath Street Baptist Church, Hampstead (2013), St. Augustines, Hammersmith (2018), the  50’s Queen’s Cinema, Gibraltar (2013),  the historic Gibraltar Garrison Library (2013), a shipping container Alcultura, Algeciras (2018) and for three large vitrines in a civic building, Palacio de Diputaciones, Cadiz (2019) (group show) . Writing is part of her work and she has produced small publications with a script or essay to accompany these installations.   


Between 2010-2016 she made a group of film portraits  Communion (2010) a black and white 35mm film of her daughter as a young girl, photographed by Oscar winning cinematographer Billy Williams BSC,  Jennifer (2015), a feature-length documentary about a Carmelite nun in the enclosed Discalced Carmelite monastery in Ronda, Spain and Sorelle Povere di Santa Chiara (2015-16) a series of works inspired by Roberto Rossellini’s Francesco Guillare di Dio (1950) on Franciscan aesthetics, life and theology including oral depositions, 6-channel audio, a small publication and a 16mm short film with a community of enclosed contemplative Franciscan nuns in their monastery in San Marino – who were gracious in accepting her presence to record their life. These portraits were all made using more observational and realist forms. 


The Mediterranean geography, its climate, the small region around Gibraltar where she comes from, the epic geography of the Straits is a source for her work and the setting for an ongoing cycle of works on audio, video and writing which includes Terrace (2012), Apparitions (2013, 2017, 2018), Meteorologies (2013, 2019) and the essay  “..and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens” (2013) which share photographs,quotes from novels, films, songs, to map an ephemeral place – Una Vaga Zona Geográfica/ A Vague Geographic Zone.


Her films are in the collection of the British Film Institute National Film Archive.Visionary Landscapes is an illustrated monograph by Black Dog Publishing (2005).  In 2017 she completed a PhD by publication Experimental Film: Catholic and Feminist Readings of my films 2010-2016.


She was active in the editorial collective of the journal Undercut (1982-1988) and is co-Editor of the Undercut Reader (2002).  The magazine was based at the London Filmmakers’ Co-op and had a central role in experimental film culture in the 80s.  The London Filmmakers’ Co-op was a hugely formative experience to her filmmaking and she convened the roundtable discussion Women of the London Filmmaker’s Co-op  (MIRAJ Vol 4 1+2) 2016. She has initiated further research on its role on other women filmmakers with the project Women Experimental Filmmakers at the London Filmmakers’ Co-op in the 80s.


Nina Danino lives and works in London. She is Reader in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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Filming First Memory, Royal College of Art, 1981