We Are Parable have teamed up with HOME to screen Process, the visual album from UK recording artist Sampha which accompanied his Mercury Music Prize winning album of the same name. Beautifully directed by Kahlil Joseph, Process is a deeply personal journey into Sampha’s mind as he traverses between Sierra Leone and South London.
This film is one of our Staff Picks! Read on to find out what HOME’s very own have to say…
Musicals! HOME Staff Pick: Nuala Shaar, Musicals! Project Coordinator and Front of House Duty Manager
“Both music and cinema have brought so much joy to my life, and I’m sure to yours as well; I really do believe there’s nothing quite like the wonder, charm and timeless magic of a musical. However, in addition to the classic movie musicals we’ll be showing for #bfimusicals, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a bit about perhaps one of the more unique screenings we have coming up as part of this brilliantly varied, uplifting and inspiring season: Process, the visual album directed by acclaimed American video artist Kahlil Joseph to accompany Sampha’s innovative debut release of the same name.
I love musicals because there’s no limit to the ways in which these mediums can be combined to create bewitching, emotionally heightened experiences with the capacity to teach us about ourselves. The visual album works in much the same way, using images to enhance the feeling and the message of the music you’re hearing. For this special one-off screening, HOME have teamed up with the pioneering We Are Parable to partake in The Art of the Black Visual Album, a nationwide vehicle celebrating the remarkable work of renowned Black artists from across the globe, including Prince, Janelle Monae and Blue Story director Rapman. Notably, Kahlil Joseph previously shot Kendrick Lamar’s good Kid, m.A.A.d city and was one of seven filmmakers to contribute to Lemonade, Beyoncé’s game-changing 2016 work. His artist film, BLKNWS, was a highlight of the 2019 Venice Biennale, broadcasting for its audience what Ruth Gebreyesus calls “the vastness of Black life”.
Sampha, Joseph’s collaborator for this project, is a British singer-songwriter born to Sierra Leonean parents in Morden, South London. His music is a soulful blend of gliding piano riffs, moody electronic beats, angelic vocals and heartfelt lyrics in which love, death and family loom large, as well they should. This special brand of minimalist R&B meets neo-soul has won accolades, critical acclaim and an array of high profile admirers; indeed, Process received the coveted Mercury Prize upon its release in 2017 and Sampha has contributed scene-stealing hooks and features to songs by influential artists such as Drake, Solange and Kanye West. Though his work may draw reasonable comparisons to the soaring vocal melodies of John Legend, or the atmospheric melancholy of Frank Ocean or The Weeknd, Sampha’s artistic voice is truly original and highly compelling.
Joseph’s intimate and ethereal film captures this gentle power beautifully, tracing the real-life origins of the poignant stories Sampha tells through his songs. Process is a hazy, dreamlike patchwork portrait of the artist in reflection; the camera drifts through the streets of London and Sierra Leone, everyday scenes and glimpses of childhood dreams of stardom punctuated by dazzlingly surreal moments of spirituality, revelation and insight. Jumping between the past and the present, the real and the imagined, the film is an affecting and enchanting watch, imbued with an otherworldly sense of the genuine magic of inspiration and artistic creation.
If you’re seeking an introduction to Sampha’s music, I strongly recommend you start with the wonderful final single from Process: a ballad which yearns for the reassuring warmth of home, (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano is, much like Joseph’s film, a remarkably tender tribute to the singer’s mother and to his roots.”
Words by Nuala Shaar
Screening as part of BFI Musicals! The Greatest Show on Screen, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery, BFI Film Audience Network and ICO.