Artist-filmmaker Ben Russell joins us to present the UK premiere of his feature film Good Luck, which premiered as a multi-room installation at documenta 14 in 2017.
Beginning with a 600-metre descent into the depths of the earth, Russell’s latest film explores two mining communities operating on opposite sides of a hostile world: the state employees of a copper mine in Serbia, and the labourers of an illegal gold mine in the tropical landscape of Suriname. Moving between dark and light, north and south, Good Luck pays close attention to the sense of community that forms between workers. Eleven black-and-white portraits of miners in both sites are woven through the film, shining a light on the human face of capital.
From the outset, it felt too easy to critique a process that all of us are directly implicated in, to have a public opinion about the horrors and environmental destruction that are part and parcel of the mining process – be it legal or illegal. It ultimately wasn’t the process that interested me as much as the side effects of the process: the community that arises out of harsh conditions, the collective that manifests out of necessity. I spent months in these mines simply because I wanted to better understand how men persevere. —Ben Russell
Ben Russell, Good Luck, France / Germany 2017, DCP, colour, sound, 143 min, Serbian and Saramaccan with English subtitles
The screening is followed by a discussion with director Ben Russell, chaired by Senior Curator Andrea Lissoni and Assistant Curator Carly Whitefield, as well as an audience Q&A.
About Ben Russell
Ben Russell (b.1976, United States) is an artist, filmmaker and curator whose work lies at the intersection of ethnography and psychedelia. His films and installations are in direct conversation with the history of the documentary image, providing a time-based enquiry into trance phenomena and evoking the research of Jean Rouch, Maya Deren and Michael Snow, among others. Russell received a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, a FIPRESCI International Critics Prize (IFFR 2009) for his first feature film Let Each One Go Where He May 2009, and was a participating artist in documenta 14. He currently resides in Los Angeles.