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Nine Muses, The (PG)

Documentary, History

Part documentary, part personal essay, this experimental film combines archive imagery with the striking wintry landscapes of Alaska to tell the story of immigrant experience coming into the UK from 1960 onwards.

More information on this production is available at

The critical consensus

Backed by audio of famous literary texts, it’s a demanding, high-brow watch, yet ably conveys the rootlessness and dislocation of the immigrant experience.

***(*)(*)Tom Dawson, Total Film, 06/01/2012

Spoken word, music and imagery come together to create moments of transcendent beauty. Wise and rather wonderful.

****(*)David Parkinson, Empire Online, 16/01/2012

White society is blamed for a lot in this film. But apparently it still has the last word on culture and history, white or black.

***(*)(*)Nigel Andrews, Financial Times, 19/01/2012

A thoughtful cine-essay.

***(*)(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 19/01/2012

It is worth watching alone for the faces of children and adults just arrived in the country, bemused yet hopeful – these are Akomfrah's fantastic discovery, and the centrepiece of his haunting meditation.

Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 20/01/2012

An open essay film which lingers long in the memory. A success.

****(*)David Jenkins, Little White Lies, 20/01/2012

A beautifully composed but intensely frustrating docu-essay.

**(*)(*)(*)Tim Robey, The Telegraph, 20/01/2012

A haunting odyssey on immigration could have been among the last of its kind – but a funding review may well bring a reprieve for 'arty' movies.

Jonathan Romney, The Independent, 22/01/2012

A handsome, restful, thought-provoking film.

Philip French, The Observer, 22/01/2012

Features about Nine Muses, The (PG)

John Akomfrah: migration and memory

Sukhdev Sandhu, The Guardian, 20/01/2012

Nine Muses, The (PG)

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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