GALI GOLD, FILM CURATOR AT BARBICAN
What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I curate the arts programmes for Barbican cinemas, overseeing our ScreenTalks and off-site screenings as well as working closely with the many partners we collaborate with to create rich, diverse and exciting film screenings and events.
Why do you think you are a Film Curator?
I love watching films. I love going to the cinema and immersing myself in that collective experience. This passion led me to spend quite a few years studying film and thinking about the way they relate and challenge the world we live in. I’m also a naïve believer in the power film has on us as individuals and as a society. As a political person with pretty good production skills and a strong will to make a change, I found this role is a great fit with my personality, with what I love and do best.
If forced to give one tip to new people coming through, what would it be?
No job is too inferior. Hold onto your ambitions and ideas but don’t hesitate to start somewhere pretty far from those, as long as you can see that there’s a path you’re happy to tread and you’re loyal to your fundamental principles.
What tip would you give a newcomer entering your realm so that they might avoid pitfalls?
You don’t necessarily know what role you’ll end up doing or even want to be doing when you just start. There are many interesting jobs and projects which you can get an idea about only through working in the industry with different projects and organisations for a while, so don’t get too fixated…
Tell us about where you come from and how it filters into your work.
I come from Israel and part of my experience is as a dissident who has chosen to exile myself from the place I grew up in and to which I (still) have very strong ties. I chose to settle in the UK and make London my home. This does make me an outsider and one who constantly negotiates identities and questions of belonging.
It’s hard to say what came first, as I was always very concerned about politics and very interested in film and the arts. But I do know that here, I’m very attuned to the issues that matter to me most and also resonate in my own biography: looking at film as a medium that can open us to experiences and points of views that we know little or nothing about, and make us actively care about people who are different from us, making sure our screens are not only reflections of naval gazing…
Tell us about the latest film/exhibition/book/public figure/article to have inspired you.
Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade. I recently lost my Dad and in the midst of grieving and missing him so, I watched this fantastic film by an emerging woman filmmaker, focusing on a father-daughter relationship. I laughed out loud and also cried, all in the course of such a moving few hours. My own father emerged through the crazy costumes of her charming Dad, a unique and lonely character who was himself all along, trying hard to get to his corporate executive daughter and guide her through the challenges of multinationals.
It has all the things I love about film: it’s written so cleverly and touches the most profound political issues of our day without being pompous, while sticking to the most sincere and personal human emotions and the alienation we sometimes feel towards those we’re most close to. It is about life and mortality, family and values, and it stayed with me like a little gift I can draw on and take solace from.
What frustrates you about what you do?
Working in a big institution also means that you deal with lots of bureaucracy. So sometimes a small and easy idea or change can become hard to achieve.
How do you overcome this?
I try to remember how much freedom I’m given to do what I love with people I appreciate and for a public I’m interested in.
Do you believe in the ‘female gaze’ and what does that mean to you?
Who is telling the story – in this context, the one told through film – and from what point of view that story is told, is hugely important: whose experiences are being shared and what points of view are offered to the spectators. It is therefore very depressing that it is mainly white men who get to tell the stories on our screens, when our world is so rich and diverse. I don’t believe in a single female gaze but I strongly believe in the fact that women have unique ways in which they experience life. We offer a range of sensibilities and points of views that would only enrich and better everyone’s world, if they were to get at least equal screen time.