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Michelle Williams Gamaker The Bang Straws 2021 Duration 17 mins 16mm film transferred to digital

The Bang Straws Screening + Q&A with Michelle Williams Gamaker

FACT presents a special screening of The Bang Straws by filmmaker Michelle Williams Gamaker, followed by a live Q&A with Future Ages Will Wonder curator Annie Jael Kwan.

88 Wood Street
L1 4DQ
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The Box, Ground Floor


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Part of the Radical Ancestry season

The Bang Straws draws its vision from the production history of The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin, 1937) which was one of cinema’s most notorious cases of casting discrimination, with American-German actress Luise Rainer winning the high-profile lead of the Chinese farmer’s wife O-Lan. To do so, she wore racist “yellowface” as so many Hollywood actors did. Despite Anna May Wong’s talent and clear desire to play O-Lan, MGM only offered her the role of sex worker Lotus instead. Dahong Wang does the screen test to play O-Lan, asking the rhetorical question: "They want my body, but they don't want me?"

While the focus on Anna is now no longer directly present, the casting discrimination she faced in 1930s Hollywood remains, alongside the violence of the casting process, a recurring motif in Williams Gamaker’s work. The Bang Straws re-casts O-Lan, and reconstructs the film's then-innovative analogue special effects, including a swarm of locusts made from tea leaves and a storm in a wheat field condensed into a film studio.

Enacting a form of fictional activism, Gamaker’s film utilises storytelling to reimagine problematic legacies of filmmaking and cinematic practice.

After the screening, filmmaker Michelle Williams Gamaker will be joined by Annie Jael Kwan, curator of exhibition Future Ages Will Wonder, for a conversation about the practice, thinking and making behind the filmmaker’s work.

FACT is funded by Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council. This event is supported by Artsformation, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Artsformation is a research project exploring the intersection between arts, society and technology.

Trisha Baga 1620 2020 Image by Rob Battersby Installation view at FACT WEB RES


Future Ages Will Wonder



Future Ages Will Wonder presents an 'alternative museum' of artworks that use science and technology to question our past and offer new ways of understanding who we are and where we belong.

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