Tim Cawkwell's Cinema

Intelligible writing on intelligent film

About Me

I came to cinephilia in my teens and have nurtured it assiduously ever since. I had a brief spell working at November Books in London for Ian Cameron, the editor of Movie (although its glory days were behind it), whom I assisted in the editing of ‘The World Encyclopaedia of Film’ (1972). I made films through the 1970s and into the 1980s (see My Films below). My first book was ‘The Filmgoer’s Guide to God’ in 2004, heavily revised in 2014 as ‘The New Filmgoer’s Guide to God’. During this time I received encouragement in having articles on Bresson and Dreyer accepted for the journal ‘Theology’.


I launched a website for my writing about film in 2008, which led me into digital publishing: ‘Film Past Film Future’ came out in 2011, followed by ‘Temenos’ (2012) and ‘From Neuralgistan to the Elated Kingdom’ (2013) and ‘Between Wee Free and Wi Fi’ (also 2013). I then modified my belief in the all-digital future for books and published ‘A Tivoli Companion’ (2015) as a paperback as well as a digital book. My newest book (forthcoming) is ‘Cricket’s Pure Pleasure’. See My Books.


You will gather from this that besides the cinema I am interested in other things such as music, poetry (and literature in general), painting, sculpture, architecture, gardens, history, religion and philosophy. While there is value in studying film purely for its own sake, there is merit too in linking it closely to its historical and cultural context. 


When I stopped making films I started using a still camera. The advent of the digital camera allowed a more professional quality to the image, and I now take lots of photographs. See Photo Gallery for a small selection.


I was born in 1948 and live in Norwich in the UK.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.cawkwell

My films

1971 film Sketches for the Creation now available on Vimeo. Go to:
https://vimeo.com/194487765

I was a film-maker from 1968 to 1987. Two things got me started. One was seeing some of Brakhage’s Songs on standard 8mm one Saturday morning in May 1968; the other was an alleged dictum of Jean-Luc Godard’s, current at the same time – “The only way to make better films is to make more films.” In July of 1968 I acquired a standard 8mm Bolex camera and got started, shooting many reels in the following years. In 1975 I bought a 16mm Bolex and used it to make the following films:


  • Sforzinda 1977 8 mins
  • Personal Triumphs 1977 6 mins
  • Inside the Museum 1978 4 mins
  • Ring of Endless Fire 1978 3 mins
  • The Art of Prophecy 1979 13 mins
  • Six Short Pieces 1979 12 mins
  • Coast View with Aeneas and Cumaean Sibyl 1981 30 mins
  • Fish Variations 1982 9 mins
  • Carn Ingli Common 1983 4 mins
  • Diverse Motions 1984 7 mins
  • Parables 1986 5 mins


Around 1984, I made the following statement as part of a promotional document for experimental film-makers in the UK:


“Animation and film are usually put in separate compartments; I am interested in removing the walls. In exploring with the camera a film language that uses shots measured in frames rather than feet, I was led to work directly on the film itself – frame by frame – with paints, chemicals and pens. I still use a camera and seek in many of the films to combine ‘animated reality’ with ‘photographed reality’. I am attracted to uncomplicated forms (silhouetted landscapes, abstract pattern, schematic drawing), the use of texts in juxtaposition with images, the relation of film to music, poetry and painting. My cinema is a visionary one: the films seek to express those moments when the charged image rises to the surface from historical, cultural and religious layers of consciousness.”


I also contributed an article to ‘Undercut’, the magazine of the London Film-makers’ Co-operative, entitled ‘Beyond the camera barrier’, issue no. 13 (Autumn 1984), which has been collected in the ‘Undercut Reader’, ed. Michael Mazière and Nina Danino, published in 2002.