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Tim Cawkwell's Cinema

Intelligible writing on intelligent film, plus some poetry

My Films

I have three films for viewing on Vimeo: Came Bluefly Power (June 2020, 8 min 24 secs), River of Fire (2018, 10 mins 18 secs) and my 1971 film Sketches for the Creation (11 mins 58 secs). Go to: https://vimeo.com/sforzinda


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Before taking up digital film again in the 2010s, I was an analogue film-maker from 1968 to 1987. Two things got me started. One was seeing some of Brakhage’s Songs on standard 8mm one Saturday morning in May 1968; the other was an alleged dictum of Jean-Luc Godard’s, current at the same time – “The only way to make better films is to make more films.” In July of 1968 I acquired a standard 8mm Bolex camera and got started, shooting many reels in the following years. In 1975 I bought a 16mm Bolex and used it to make the following films:

  • Sforzinda 1977 8 mins
  • Personal Triumphs 1977 6 mins
  • Inside the Museum 1978 4 mins
  • Ring of Endless Fire 1978 3 mins
  • The Art of Prophecy 1979 13 mins
  • Six Short Pieces 1979 12 mins
  • Coast View with Aeneas and Cumaean Sibyl 1981 30 mins
  • Fish Variations 1982 9 mins
  • Carn Ingli Common 1983 4 mins
  • Diverse Motions 1984 7 mins
  • Parables 1986 5 mins

Around 1984, I made the following statement as part of a promotional document for experimental film-makers in the UK:

“Animation and film are usually put in separate compartments; I am interested in removing the walls. In exploring with the camera a film language that uses shots measured in frames rather than feet, I was led to work directly on the film itself – frame by frame – with paints, chemicals and pens. I still use a camera and seek in many of the films to combine ‘animated reality’ with ‘photographed reality’. I am attracted to uncomplicated forms (silhouetted landscapes, abstract pattern, schematic drawing), the use of texts in juxtaposition with images, the relation of film to music, poetry and painting. My cinema is a visionary one: the films seek to express those moments when the charged image rises to the surface from historical, cultural and religious layers of consciousness.”


I also contributed an article to ‘Undercut’, the magazine of the London Film-makers’ Co-operative, entitled ‘Beyond the camera barrier’, issue no. 13 (Autumn 1984), which has been collected in the ‘Undercut Reader’, ed. Michael Mazière and Nina Danino, published in 2002.

Coast View with Aeneas and Cumaean Sibyl (above); Diverse Motions (below) and Sforzinda (bottom)