Occupied City

Dir: Steve McQueen
262mins   2023   15   English | Dutch   

Followed by a conversation with Steve McQueen and Bianca Stigter, broadcast live from the Barbican in London

Where do the memories of a city go? From Oscar- and BAFTA-winning filmmaker and Turner Prize-winning visual artist Steve McQueen, comes this mesmerising and monumental excavation of how the past haunts our precarious present: mirroring it and warning us in plain sight.

Informed by the book Atlas of an Occupied City: Amsterdam 1940-1945 written by Bianca Stigter, the documentary creates two interlocking portraits. One shows the city's devastating Nazi occupation through door-to-door accounts – tales of Jewish persecution, of resistance, collaboration, valour, and denial. The other is a vivid journey through the last years of pandemic and protest. The combination has a transformative effect with which McQueen opens up a poetic, dreamlike space where unthinkable history and hope for a new future co-exist.

The film's runtime is 266 mins, including a 15-min intermission halfway through.

"A staggeringly ambitious feat” - Little White Lies

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