Phil Collins, 67 min
United Kingdom, 2018
Oh, Manchester! During the shock waves of Brexit, the city's people meet in a democratic-utopian forum on the town square, in an optimistic and creative film.
As the Brits are trying to figure out what Brexit should be all about, the good people of Manchester come together in divided times. In the middle of the city, Phil Collins (an artist and old friend of CPH:DOX) has set up a temporary forum for the city's citizens, where they can meet, debate and enjoy some teaching. All in the spirit of Friedrich Engels, who himself lived in Manchester for 20 years and developed his socialist theories in the city. Brexit itself is the elephant in the room, and 'Ceremony' is an idealistic celebration of utopia. As the jewel in the crown of the social artwork, a statue of Engels himself is transported from Ukraine to be erected in the middle of the square. The city's prodigal son is back, but does the same go for his thinking? Collins's optimistic film is an essayistic documentation of a project that he made at the Manchester International Festival. With Collins's characteristic voice as a guide, it is however much more than a documentation of the process. At a time when more things are dividing people than uniting them, the open social dimension in the inclusive work is more real than it is utopian.