FIVE YEAR DIARY, REEL 22: A SHORT AFFAIR (AND) GOING CRAZY, AUG 23 - SEPT 1, 1982, Dir. Anne Charlotte Robertson
Special EventsPublic Intimacies

PUBLIC INTIMACIES: Anne Charlotte Robertson

17:30 Sat 18 Jan 2020

ICA Cinema 1

“I thought the film would end.” - Robertson, Five Year Diary: Reel 47

Over the course of nearly two decades, Anne Charlotte Roberston produced Five Year Diary (1981-97).

Ultimately totalling 36 hours, the video diary - renowned for both its radical transparency as an autobiographical document, and the sparse opportunities to catch the work in screening - is an obsessive chronicle of Robertson’s daily life and mental health.

An experiment in self-therapy, Robertson’s ‘story of a mind’s survival’ records the minutiae of her day to day existence - compulsive diets, gardening, cats and frequent hospitalisations - cushioned by a sharp wit and probing self reflexivity. Programmed by Thomas Grimshaw and Jenna Roberts. 105’

The programme will be preceded by an extended introduction from Daniella Shreir

Daniella Shreir is founder-editor of printed and online feminist film journal Another Gaze. She also works as a freelance programmer and translator. Her translation of Chantal Akerman’s My Mother Laughs came out in 2019 with Silver Press.

This is part of Public Intimacies, a strand of communually programmed films and illustrated lectures looking to the agency of women’s voices when in dialogue with themselves, and the potential for self-recognition through self-documentation.

This programme contains descriptions of mental health issues.


The Mall, St James's
020 7930 3647
Full £13-4 / Concessions £11-2 / Blue Members £7-8


Please find all access information here, or drop a line to Helen MacKenzie at for more information or special requests.


    Anne Charlotte Robertson 27 mins (US, 1982)

    Introduction; a vegetarian dinner; the lover sleeping; sorting garbage; ex-lovers' art; friends and cocaine; moon; composting sable brushes; the kitchen sink; wine; eating with my hands; the kitchen table; self-portraits'; construction machines; hiding behind the curtains; morning-glories at dusk; dinner with my mother; the drawings in the hall, yoga, and the goddess rap; calling the lover; saying goodbye; carnival rides; street scenes; weeping; flowers and bees; shadows on the carpet and empty rooms; esoteric sign language; sorting the compost; walking through Boston, hunting for clues; finding him in a fountain; my favorite statue; the slug incident; paranoia about plastic; putting everything in garbage bags; the construction site outside; calling the lover. (ACR)

    Anne Charlotte Robertson 26 mins (US, 1983)

    Within are documented a paranoid manic nervous breakdown, a description of a mental hospitalisation, and the subsequent recovery period. Sound is of wild tape of the breakdown, and a hidden tape-recorded psychiatric session; the second soundtrack is narration from 1991. Synopsis: Introduction; paranoia about root vegetables; esoteric sign language; searching for hidden significances; crush on Tom Baker (“Doctor Who” from BBC Television); my cats Amy and Buddy; vegetarian cooking; the compost heap; my mother and her house; driving into Boston; unemployment; television hyper-vigilance; hiding inside; exorcism with tea and mirror and lamps; too much wine; my friend the painter Susan Brown; the movie The Turning Point; experiences in a mental hospital; psychiatric session recording; autumn street and garden scenes; the mental day-hospital; domestic still-lives; bingeing; self Gestalt-therapy; school; groceries; winter; my garden; a series of self-portraits.” (ACR)
  • REEL 80: EMILY DIED, 1994

    Anne Charlotte Robertson 27 mins (US, 1994)

    “This is Reel 80 of my Super 8mm opus Five Year Diary. It covers the period May 14 to September 26, 1994. Within is personal documentary; midway occurs the death of my 3-year-old niece Emily ; the impact of her death is explored.” (ACR)
  • REEL 81: MOURNING EMILY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1994 – JANUARY 29, 1995

    Anne Charlotte Robertson 25 mins (US, 1995)

    Anne’s niece Emily dies. Anne goes into a deep depression.