The Passion of Remembrance

A Sankofa film by Maureen Blackwood and Isaac Julien

England | 1986 | 80 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 99334


The first film by Sankofa Film and Video, THE PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE has gained classic status as a representation of the totality and diversity of Black experience. Within a dramatic framework the film gives a mosaic impression of the different dimensions of Black experience lived and imagined by a generation of filmmakers in the UK. As beautiful as it is eloquent, THE PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE is critical viewing for those interested in race, gender, history and cinema studies.


“Really radical filmmaking…the filmmakers intend to raise the intelligence and consciousness of their audience.”

Armond White Film Comment


  • London Film Festival


Maureen Blackwood

After completing a degree in Media Studies, writer/director Maureen Blackwood became a founding member of Sankofa Film and Video, a group of young Black filmmakers who came together to make films which offered new and often challenging visions of Black experiences. During her time with Sankofa, Maureen has pursued and developed her talents in the areas of writing and direction. She was co-writer/director on Sankofa's first film THE PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE before going on to write and direct the award-winning film PERFECT IMAGE? Maureen's more recent work includes A FAMILY CALLED ABREW, a documentary which depicts the lives of a Black Scottish family spanning a century and she has just completed a British Screen/Channel Four Television 11-minute drama, shot on 35mm, HOME AWAY FROM HOME.

Maureen has also worked on many of Sankofa's other films such as TERRITORIES, DREAMING RIVERS, and LOOKING FOR LANGSTON. Maureen has over the years organized a series of courses for people interested in media careers and most recently worked as Visiting Artist at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. At present, Maureen is working on the feature-length film, THREE ROOMS, whilst developing other Sankofa projects. (07/12)

Isaac Julien

Isaac Julien was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. While studying painting and fine art film at St Martin's School of Art from which he graduated in 1984, Isaac Julien co-founded 'Sankofa Film and Video Collective' in which he was active from 1983–1992. He was also a founding member of Normal Films in 1991.

Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001 for his films THE LONG ROAD TO MATZATLAN (1999), made in collaboration with Javier de Frutos and Vagabondia (2000), choreographed by Javier de Frutos. Earlier works include FRANZ FANON: BLACK SKIN, WHITE MASK (1996), YOUNG SOUL REBELS (1991) which was awarded the Semaine de la Critique Prize at the Cannes Film Festival the same year, and the acclaimed poetic documentary LOOKING FOR LANGSTON (1989), which also won several international awards.

Julien has had solo shows at the Pompidou Centre in Paris (2005), MOCA Miami (2005), Kestnergesellschaft, and Hanover (2006). His film TEN THOUSAND WAVES (2010) went on world tour, and has been on display in over 15 countries so far, and which will conclude at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013/14. (8/14)


Sankofa is a collective of black, British filmmakers and was founded in the summer of 1983 by then aspiring filmmakers Isaac Julien, Martina Attille, Maureen Blackwood, Nadine Marsh-Edwards, and Robert Crusz. The five young artists were all recent graduates of various art colleges and polytechnics in London and were part of a wave of black independent filmmakers who emerged in the 1980s. Determined to tell their own stories in their own way, they established Sankofa. Sankofa was one of several collectives and film workshops supported by the Greater London Council (abolished in 1986), and the new broadcaster Channel 4, to encourage diversity. Sankofa specializes in distinctive, short films. The Collective’s earlier work includes: WHO KILLED COLIN ROACH? (d. Isaac Julien, 1983), TERRITORIES (d. Julien, 1984) and PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE (d. Maureen Blackwood 1986). The collective’s first full length feature, foregrounds their interest in politics, sexuality and Black British history. Other films such as DREAMING RIVERS (d. Martina Attille, 1988) and LOOKING FOR LANGSTON (d. Julien, 1989,) uncover personal histories with sensitivity and lyricism. In the late 1990s, their production slate broadened to include stories about British Chinese life (YELLOW FEVER, d. Raymond Yeung, 1998) and the work of new writers and directors like Toa Stappard (Strip, 1998) and Mina Courtauld (DUSTY’S STORY, 1998). Among their several award-witting films is ...IS IT THE DESIGN ON THE WRAPPER (d. Tessa Sheridan, 1997), which was awarded the short film Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. (10/09)

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