Screencap from the film's trailer, March 24, 2018 - Film Society of Lincoln Center/Youtube.
CAIRO – 24 March 2018: 'Losing Ground', a nearly lost 1982 comedy/drama film by director Kathleen Collins will be screening at Cimatheque on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25.
A film that never saw theatrical release, 'Losing Ground' was one of the first movies ever to be directed by an African-American woman. It was released just after Collin's life was tragically cut short from breast cancer at the age of 42. For a long time, the film was never shown outside of the festival it debuted in, and was considered a lost gem until 2015, when it was recovered and shown at the Lincoln Center, allowing a new generation exposure to such a unique cinematic voice.
'Losing Ground' is a semi-autobiographical tale loosely based around Collin's own life. It follows a middle-class African-American couple; Sarah (Seret Scott) is a philosophy professor who has just about had it with her husband Victor (Bill Gunn), an artist who follows his passions far too much, constantly cheating on other women.
As their marriage dissolves, Sarah decides her life needs to take a new direction, and she begins her search to feel true 'ecstasy', a kind that comes around through the creation of great art. This causes her husband a lot of confusion, forcing him to rethink who she is and how he's treated her, as he embarks on his own journey in life. Beyond a focus on marriage, the film can also be seen as a philosophical piece, primarily centered on the way history shapes the personal lives of artists, the nature of passion and ecstasy, and just what it truly means to live as a black person; in particular, a black woman.
Collins was born on March 18, 1942 in New Jersey and worked as a film professor at the City College in New York, where she enlisted the help of her students to help her in finishing 'Losing Ground'. Despite the low budget of the film, it features a complexity of character writing in regards to the lives of an African-American woman that rarely been matched since, and had Collin's life not been taken so soon it can only be wondered on what greatness she might have reached.
Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre, located in downtown Cairo is the place to be for anyone in Egypt interested in the diversity of cinema and watching obscure films. It is a space made for those who love films and those who make them, with workshops and other events provided alongside screenings.