I conceived the Time of the Signs retrospective during my visit to Sundance Film Festival in 2017. Inspiration was initially provided by two key events that took place at that time, the inauguration of Donald Trump, and the Women’s March that took place in Park City. As the idea developed, I realised that revisiting certain elements of 1980s American cinema would allow us to hold an interesting mirror of sorts up to the political and social climate of the US as it is today. Conceived and curated by Niall Greig Fulton.


American Woman: Female Directors in American Cinema 1980-1990

The central strand in Time of the Signs, American Woman, celebrates women in US cinema by highlighting the work of pioneering female directors of the 1980s. It’s a truly breathtaking selection of films, revealing groundbreaking, insightful work that paints a fascinating picture of America at the time. This strand is complemented by a retrospective look at the innovative work of the brilliant experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer, curated by EIFF Black Box programmer, Kim Knowles, and EIFF Shorts programmer, Lydia Beilby.


American Exposé: The Media in Mainstream American Cinema 1975-1990

With the press playing such an important role in the Trump presidency, American Exposé explores the representation of the media in mainstream American cinema of the 1980s. It’s a powerful and interesting collection of highly respected films focusing on subjects such as freedom of speech, fake news, the cult of celebrity and the power of investigative journalism. These classic movies contain themes and messages that remain as relevant to the media today as the day they were made.


The American Nightmare: Horror in Mainstream American Cinema 1980-1985

From Stranger Things, The Strain and American Horror Story to The Walking Dead, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, contemporary American television is saturated with content derived from the genre cinema of the past. Reflecting that fact, The American Nightmare presents a selection of highly influential titles from the early 1980s, a golden era for horror in US filmmaking. Featuring films by some of the genre’s finest American exponents, it’s an exciting opportunity to show these classics on the big screen once again.

View all films in the Time of the Signs retrospective strand here.