THE SEVEN SISTERS INDOOR MARKET – A FILM BY KLEARJOS EDUARDO PAPANICOLAOU AND MARIOS KLEFTAKIS
At its heart, this is a film about risk. It is about what we stand to lose in the course of a colossal social transformation reflected in the way our cities are being re-designed. A stroll in central London will show you what this transformation entails. Developers and politicians are building a new skyline, and with it, bearing a new standard of living costs. While recognising that change is inevitable, this film asks: what do we risk losing as this transformation unfolds?
In asking this question, a portrait is painted of a market in Tottenham, north London, called the Seven Sisters Indoor Market. On face value, it is a fairly common market, with numerous and diverse businesses sit side-by-side vying for custom. Looking more closely, it’s evident that it also doubles as an informal cultural centre for immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere. This, too, is common enough among various parts of London and cities like it.
Upon closer reflection, however – and it is this reflection that the film attempts – a brilliance emerges. It is a brilliance in which public and private, social and commercial, native and foreign, are merged into a social attitude of inclusiveness – an example of humanity exceptionally embedded into urban space. It is a market imbued with a ‘living room’ feeling made up of informality and spontaneous cosmopolitanism. Imagine trying to cross a corridor amid multilingual chatter, and being blocked by a child practicing karate.
This portrait is painted using hybrid film language that borrows from documentary and fiction styles, as well as ethnographic modes of representation. At times, past and present are merged in the course of invoking personal stories of migration. At other times, static shots allow stories to unfold before the camera, resulting in a language as spontaneous as the spirit of the market itself.
The story of the Seven Sisters Indoor Market is a reminder of what is possible in a city, as well of what we risk losing through the systematic dismantling of the conditions that keep it open.
This emergent conflict is not passive – in this particular site, you may join the members of the Ward’s Corner Community Coalition in their struggle to preserve the market. The first step towards organised resistance, however, is a reflection triggered.
It’s this reflection on risk that this documentary offers.
Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou
Director, The Seven Sisters Indoor Market