The Nine Muses
Stephen Best is an associate professor of English at UC Berkeley.
John Akomfrah uses Homer’s Odyssey as a point of departure for The Nine Muses, a cinematic exploration of migration, exile, alienation, and the definition of home. Akomfrah’s look at the experiences of those referred to as the “Windrush Generation” replaces the conventional formal structures of documentary filmmaking with a poetic study of archival materials. Combining footage of Caribbean and African migrants in the 1950s and 1960s, static shots of lone figures in empty frozen landscapes, and a layered sound collage of readings and music, Akomfrah’s elegy of immigration is as much a journey in itself as it is a document of journeys.