With the twentieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison on February 10th and the opening of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver this Friday, there are a number of film screenings, lectures and conferences coming up this month, notably to mark these events. Here is a selection of those which seem of particualr interest.
A Woman in Berlin
The Institute of Contemporary Arts
London SW1Y 5AH
Telephone: 020 7930 3647
This film was released in German cinemas in October 2008. Based on the diary of the German journalist Marta Hillers, it tells the story of German women who had survived the bombing of Berlin, but were raped by Red Army soldiers as they moved through the city in the last days of the Second World War.
February 11th – 25th
17 Queensberry Place
London SW7 2DT
Telephone: 020 7073 1350
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Institut Français, Cine lumière is organising a special film season entitled Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité which will run throughout the year.
The following is a selection of some of the film screenings for the first part Liberté.
Mandela Son of Africa, Father of a Nation
February 11th, 6.15pm
This full-length documentary narrated by Mandela provides an insight into his childhood, adolescence and career and sheds light on the charisma and spirit of the man who dedicated himself to the struggle of the African people.
February 19th, 6pm
This film released in French cinemas in 1997 tells the story of Lucie Aubrac, a member of the French resistance who fought to release her husband from the hands of the Gestapo.
February 20th, 2.15pm
A screening of Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biographical film starring Ben Kingsley, Edward Fox and Martin Sheen.
Lectures and conferences
Queen Mary Olympic Lecture Series: Back to the Future; Flying Down to Rio via London and Ancient Olympia
February 9th, 6.30pm
Mason Lecture Theatre, Francis Bancroft Building, Queen Mary, University of London
Telephone: 020 7882 5147
In this first lecture of the Queen Mary Olympic Lectures series devoted to the history of the Olympic Games, Professor Paul Cartledge will compare the first Games held in Ancient Greece to the forthcoming global spectacles of London 2012 and Rio 2016. The series continues until April with a further three lectures, on February 23rd, March 9th and April 20th, during which speakers Dr David Runciman, Professor Marion Kant and Professor Christopher Young will discuss the impact of the three modern Olympics held in London since 1908 on British politics, the Berlin Games of 1936 and Munich 1972.
February 10th, 3pm
The Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL
Telephone: 0161 275 2634
In 1924, a painted bust of Nefertiti was put on display in the Berlin Museum and the general public became aware of her existence. Joyce Tyldesley, from the department of Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester and a Fellow of the Manchester Museum, will discuss the distorting effect that the Berlin head has had on the public perception of Nefertiti, before reviewing the archaeological evidence for her life and death.
Conspirator: Lenin in exile
February 18th, 7.30pm
London EC2M 4QH
Telephone: 020 7392 9220
Helen Rappaport will discuss her latest book, which tells the story of Lenin’s 17-year exile in the years leading up to the Russian Revolution.
The Bosworth Conference
February 20th, 10am
Telephone: 01455 290 429
Leicestershire County Council and Battlefields Trust archaeologist Dr Glenn Foard will unveil the results of the recent four-year archaeological survey to locate the battlefield. Other speakers include Professors Richard Holmes, President of The Battlefield’s Trust, Anne Curry, expert in 15th-century English warfare, Mathew Strickland, expert in the history of medieval warfare in Britain and Steve Walton, specialist in early artillery. Archaeological finds from the battlefield will be on public display for the first time at the conference, including the largest collection of artillery round shot from any medieval battlefield in Europe.
On February 22nd, ‘Bosworth Battlefield Lost and Found’, a new gallery telling the story of how experts found the true location of the Battle of Bosworth Field, will also open to the public.
Medieval Pilgrims Revealed
February 24th, 7.30pm
Donington le Heath Manor House
Donington le Heath, Coalville
Leicestershire LE67 2FW
Telephone: 01530 831259
Over the last 30 years, metal detectorists have excavated some of the lead relics that pilgrims from Leicestershire brought back from their journeys to shrines at Canterbury, Walsingham, Windsor and St Andrews, for example, and Leicestershire Museums staff have gradually recorded these discoveries. Peter Liddle, Leicestershire County Council’s Community Archaeologist, will discuss the results of the latest research in an effort to uncover the history of medieval pilgrimage in the region.
The Mixed Constitution – Monarchical and Aristocratic Aspects of Modern Democracy
February 25th, 5.30pm
The British Academy
10 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH
Dr Mogens Herman Hansen from Copenhagen University will discuss the legacy of Montesquieu’s theory of the separation of powers as the foundation of modern representative democracy. He will argue that the older theory of mixed constitution developed by Plato, Aristotle and Polybios deserves to be revived as a corrective to the prevailing view that western states are pure democracies.