19 january, 2004 - 30 january, 2004
Trinh T. Minh-ha. Documentary Is/Not a Name
This film and video programme presents the complete filmography of the Vietnamese filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha (Hanoi, 1952), one of the most forceful voices in post-colonial and post-feminist discourse in the 1980s and 90s. Born in Hanoi, she moved to the United States in 1970, where she studied music composition, ethnomusicology and French literature at the University of Illinois. Her film work has been highly recognised in the field of documentary, where she has adopted a critical ethnographic eye with respect to the narrative of the traditional documentary, which she deconstructs in her films. The technique of documentary film often contains the illusion of offering an objective and impartial look at the observed subject. The filmmaker, like the anthropologist, usually enjoys a privileged position, a distance above the observed subject that supposedly guarantees the neutrality of the process and the document. Part of Trinh T. Minh-ha’s work consists of challenging this proposition, revealing the strategies and methods used in the specific relationships between the documentary maker and the exploited or oppressed subjects who are observed in a hieratical power structure with an underlying authoritarian discourse about the ‘other’. In her films, meaning is constructed, not given. Thus she shows that commentary is not impartial, but rather an interpretation open to all its inherent complexity.