Video School

Trinh T. Minh-ha: Reassemblage

Who made these borders and whom do they serve? This question is taken up by Trinh T. Minh-ha in her 1983 film Reassemblage, which remains one of the most incisive and poetic critiques of the philosophical paradigm that colonialism has passed down. True to the idea that no radical statement can be uttered in inherited grammars, Trinh’s film rigorously interrogates cinematic form while flooding us with content that undoes the very logic most critique relies upon. Soundscapes extend for minutes while the screen remains dark, inviting us to know through hearing rather than through the immediate privileging of sight. And when images do come, sound is silenced so that the diegetic and non-diegetic elements of cinema are seldom operating in tandem, refusing to produce a familiar real. It is here that Trinh T. Minh-ha delivers a most profound statement: “I do not intend to speak about / Just speak near by”––a total undoing of the privileging of mastery, the form of knowing that requires distance, the one that has possession as its quiet but pervasive aim. The film is forty minutes long and this excerpt is only the first ten but my hope is that this will compel you to find it, and receive.

Born in Vietnam, Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and composer.

Litia Perta‘s contribution to video school considers the possibility of “deep education” in arts and humanities